Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Writer's EdgeConsider, do screenplay writers or playwrights just begin writing without planning? Of course not. So why should the novel be different? And we're not talking about Beckett or Joycean flights of fancy, we're talking about the vast bulk of commercial novels, whether they be upmarket or genre.


Ever heard this? Don't plan or outline your novel, let the character write the novel, or even more simply, "Just start writing." How many times have I heard that? And guess where? At a writer conference, of course. A certain type of author is asked whether or not they plot or outline ahead of time. They smile and say something like, "I've been asked this question before, and I have to say no, I don't outline. It just all comes to me, the character inhabits me..." or some such drivel.

But let's be logical.

att.jpg If you understand the primary foundations for writing a novel you know your plot line must develop certain points as it moves forward, and you know also that you must write separate scenes in the novel to perform certain tasks relevant to the plot line, as well as to the character arcs, etc. It's a complex undertaking, and one that demands a certain amount of planning. If you are some kind of genius and can keep it all in your head, more power to you, but if you are like me, you need to organize and place ideas on paper (or on the computer). Also, logic dictates that if your novel plot lines are a series of circumstances, reversals, and events that tie together (like "Harry Potter"?), it only makes sense that you better know how point A gets to point M before you will know how point M gets to point Z.  

Consider, do screenplay writers or playwrights just begin writing without planning? Of course not. So why should the novel be different? And we're not talking about Beckett or Joycean flights of fancy, we're talking about the vast bulk of commercial novels, whether they be upmarket or genre. By the way, let me introduce you below to one of J.K. Rowling's outlines for a Harry Potter novel, Order of the Phoenix

potteroutline.jpg

Guess it's a little hard to argue that good ole J.K. didn't know what she was doing? Anyone see dollar signs? 

View the full article

Michael Neff
Algonkian Producer
New York Pitch Director
Author, Development Exec, Editor

We are the makers of novels, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 1
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Those who argue against this often attempt to equate rigid adherence to an outline with the basic concept of an outline, thereby using the former to negate the latter, when in truth, "rigid adherence" is an extreme that no real writer utilizing a novel outline would entertain in the first place.

Admin

 

AC Admin

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.










WTF is Wrong With Stephen King?







An Algonkian Success Story










×
×
  • Create New...