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5 Reasons Authors Need to Build an Email List Starting Now!   Leave a comment

BGS Ambassador5 Key Reasons Authors Need To Build An Email List Starting Now!  #booksgs

Posted June 7, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion, Uncategorized

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Wandering the Pathways   6 comments

The topic for this week’s blog hop is “Your process for outlining a story.”

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Everywhere you turn, you will find someone saying that you must outline before you write or you’re just wasting your time. Outlining is taught in school is THE “right way” to shape a story. You’ll hear the importance of plotting out your story trumpeted at writing conferences, usually by a speaker who looks down his or her nose at mere “pantsers”. They aren’t professional writers, you see. They’re running with scissors.

You can probably tell by my word choice that I am a discovery writer who highly values the more organic, personal nature of writing without an outline.

I could just end the article right there, right? I have nothing to say about outlining … obviously.

But stick with me, because I do have something to say on this subject.

Few questions about the writing process spark as much passionate debate among writers as the subject of outlining. Equally brilliant writers on opposite sides of the field have gone head to head – Writer’s Digest once pitted David Morrell, a legendary thriller writer who uses the discovery method against Ken Follett, who writes an incredibly detailed outline before he sits down to actually write. Both authors are equally talented, so it begs the question — which one is right?

Neither and both. Writing technique is all about adopting what works for you … which may not work for me. Organic writers find inspiration in leaving outlines in the dust while pre-writers insist stories need structure. After reading many articles on the subject and being part of a discussion at the local writers’ guild, I’ve come to the conclusion that your writing process should match the way you think.

It should be noted that writing gurus, English teachers and self-publishing handbooks keep demanding outlines while some writers insist outlines straight-jacket the creative flow. The writing coach I spoke to at guild feels that outlines are absolutely necessary. Some of the writers disagreed. And I think outlines help some writers and hurt others. Writers needs a writing process that fits their personal way of thinking and acting, not what some guru insists is the “right way”.


I wrote most of the Daermad Cycle’s existing portions in complete discovery mode, never intending to publish anything. When I decided I wanted to publish, I turned to it and discovered a lot of story goodness surrounded by a lot of meandering. It was an absolutely huge manuscript that I broke into five sections which are really too short to be fantasy novels. I then set to rewriting and my first step in doing that was to OUTLINE the parts I wanted to keep in order to get where I wanted to be.

So, yes, I do use outlining, but not as pre-writing. It is an integral part of my editing process. Since the books of the Daermad Cycle are only about half written, I use outlining to decide what needs to be added. I also use it to determine if I have action or movement in a scene. When I write a 1-2 sentence synopsis, I pay particular attention to whether I can produce verbs that connote movement, progress or tension. If I can’t, then I know that section needs work.

Since every book of the Daermad Cycle is really a rewrite, I involve outlining from the outset.

However, in writing Transformation Project, I am really creating a brand-new story from the bits and pieces of a couple of stories that didn’t pan out. For the first draft, I don’t use an outline, though I do have an idea how I want the book to end. That’s unusual for me. My other works in progress are completely organic works. I generally write one-third to half of the first draft with no real idea where I’m headed. I let the characters tell me their stories and I write it all down. I skip back and forth, sometimes writing scenes that could be easily moved earlier or later in the book. About halfway through, I become aware of the ending for the story. It is then that I outline in broad strokes what scenes need to occur to reach where I want to go. Then I write them.

For rewrite I read the manuscript as if I am a reader coming upon it for the first time. I draw up a fresh outline so I can see where I need to improve the book. Often there are scenes needed to flesh out the story. It is my outline that helps me to diagnose where the story needs work.

I would hate to be constrained to a set structure from the outset. I sometimes outline before writing non fiction, but I just haven’t experienced any value in doing that for fiction.  The few times I’ve had to do it in classes have been a struggle for me defined by the feeling that the characters felt dependent upon the plot rather than the plot being dependent upon the characters.

As a diagnostic tool outline is great and if you are a planned writer, I am not disparaging you. Please carry on with what works for you. Still, I hope you feel free to sometimes just depart from the script and see where your muse takes you. You might be surprised what a lack of structure brings forth.

The Willow Branch has Gone Social   Leave a comment

Willow Branch Blue White Recreation Cover<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Could you meet the True King you're seeking and not even recognize him? <a href=””>#IFNRTG</a&gt; <a href=””>#dragons</a&gt; <a href=””></a&gt; <a href=””>@LelaMarkham</a></p>&mdash; Laurence O'Bryan (@LPOBryan) <a href=”″>May 22, 2016</a></blockquote>

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