Outline, or As You Go?

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So, you want to write a novel, but you’re not sure how to get started. My tenth grade English teacher said to start with an outline.  There are a lot of books and writing “experts” that agree with her. On the other hand, there are people like Stephen King.  In his book, “On Writing,” he wrote, “I want to put a group of characters (perhaps a pair, perhaps even just one) in some sort of predicament and then watch them try to work themselves free.”  He also wrote, “For me, what happens to characters as a story progresses depends solely on what I discover about them as I go along–how they grow.”

When I started writing, I wasn’t sure which approach would work best for me. Outlining “felt” right, but I decided to try building the story on the fly. Taking this approach, I’ve discovered things about my characters I hadn’t considered at the beginning. As a result, my stories have taken turns I may not have imagined had I used the, “build the outline, and then write,” approach. I’m almost certainly leaving myself more work rewriting on the back end, but for the purposes of story creation, it’s working for me. (OP 11/14/2013)

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