Not Writing to an Outline

So, last week, we just touched basis on writing to an outline and how we feel it prevents us from falling into a formula that some authors do. It is unfortunate that they do. We’ve seen a lot of negative reviews for such things. As avid readers, ourselves, we agree with most of them. Once you figure out the formula, the rest of the book is quite boring. You’re reading along and go, yep that wasn’t really surprising or saw that coming a mile away. We haven’t finished several books because of this.

One of the things we try really really hard to do, is not to fall into a rhythm of writing, which is why we let the characters take the reins from time to time. Surprising things seem to happen that way. You have this scene all planned out in your head and then suddenly it takes a turn. Sometimes, it’s a turn for the worst and you have to figure your way out of and sometimes, it’s something really cool that you sit there and think: why didn’t I think of that? why did it come out now? Or, you sit back and go: wow!

I will honesty say that I can see it would be easy to fall into such formulas. Some people really like them. Some authors really love writing a certain way. Again, that’s not for us. We do not use outlines. The few times we’ve tried writing to a set plan of what will happen, when it will happen, and how it will end for a certainty, we’ve failed. Don’t take this the wrong way. When we start a story, we typically know how it will end. There are a few key elements that have to happen. However, the rest is up for grabs. Even the location can change due to certain events in the story having changed because of something someone did. We love the surprise our work brings to even us. We figure if it can surprise us, it will most likely surprise the reader as well.

We don’t want to be those authors that have things happen a certain way every time. The character then responds to it in a set manner. Does this actually happen in real life? NO. Not by any means. Wrenches are frequently thrown into real life plans and we have to learn how to adapt to it or wallow. Preferably, adapting is the better way. Or at least adapting, after the wallowing has passed. What I am saying is that for us, writing to an outline is as equally boring as reading one. The few stories we have actually managed to finish with an outline, we have actually had to scrap and take it back to the original idea. It was just too predictable, too bland.

We like to bring randomness to our stories, just like what happens in real life from time to time.


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