I’ve always been a bit on the fence about outlining–I wasn’t great at doing it for research papers in college and I’ve never been terribly good at doing it for my stories, either.

However, given that I am trying for something on the longer side, I don’t necessarily want my characters to hijack me off onto some side journey I wasn’t planning on.  The year I successfully completed NaNoWriMo, my secondary characters totally hijacked my story and I ended up caring more about them than my primary characters.  This is deeply deeply ironic given that it was a romance semi-sort-of based on my partner and I and a “what if” scenario.

Of course the flip side is that doing an outline (even if it’s just a few sentences for each planned chapter) does give some structure and tells me what I need to know before I get started on Nov 1–for example, I know very little about video games and how they are made, so I need to learn that or change something about my planned story.

Doing/thinking about my story outline is also helping me feel like I’m writing when what I’m actually doing is a major housecleaning project and baking for a birthday party this week.

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