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To Outline or Not?

April 10, 2012

Writers are divided about whether to work from detailed outlines or to “go with the flow” and revise later. In Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success, author K.M. Weiland argues that outlining provides writers with a valuable road map that makes the story-telling journey much easier. By spending time on planning early on, writers can avoid dead-end ideas and produce coherent, balanced and focused stories. Outlining helps writers understand their main characters before they leap onto the page. This familiarity helps “outliners” create rounded characters who speak with a consistent voice throughout the story.

Weiland’s lively book offers a step-by-step guide to the process she uses to outline her own novels. The steps address the critical elements of good story-telling including establishing character, setting, plot, structure, conflict and theme. Each step is illustrated with pertinent examples from her own writing, familiar novels and films, and with lists of questions for writers to consider about each topic.

Whether you are an “outliner” or a “seat of your pants” writer, Weiland offers a treasure trove of ideas, probing questions and resources for any writer who wants to keep readers reading!

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