Writing Linearly from an Outline

Fortuitous and coincidental that I came across this post at SF Novelists just after I was thinking about my own writing style (ed. note: “just” being two months ago when I started this post), and how I seem to prefer writing from a detailed outline. I’m an Outliner. Granted, I’ve probably only written enough words to make up one novel if they were all put together (that would be a pretty awesome novel), but I am finding that it is definitely easier for me to get the words out when I have an outline of at least the major scenes of the story.

I know this because I essentially have four Works-In-Progress, and the two of them for which I’ve written the most have the whole story outlined with most of the major events present as well (many of the smaller individual scenes are on the outline too). The two other Works are ones that I’m just as interested in writing (on a macro level), but after about half way through the story, I have very little idea of where they go. Clearly I am not one of those writers who can just sit down, start writing, and let the characters dictate the plot.

Does that mean that the two outlined stories are not character-driven? I certainly hope not. While the whole thing is laid out, the events that take place are still driven by the characters. The set up for the plot for both of them was created by something out of the characters’ control, but that Deus Ex Machina only exists outside of what takes place in the book itself.

Now, as for the question of writing Linearly vs. Splatter Writing, I’m more inclined toward the former. I think it’s something that follows from the Outlining. I’ve found a couple times that I’ve written a scene out of order just because I wasn’t feeling the next scene that was due up in the Linear Order. But, so far, most of the scenes I’ve written have been the ones that come after the last one I wrote.


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