(Sorry for the quick and dirty post.  I’ve been felled by that master villan The Stomach Flu, and prolonged sessions at the keyboard are just not in my immediate future.  I hope to be on the mend soon, in the meantime, I’ll be trying to keep up with short updates here when I can.)  


Outlines, Workflow and an Organized Writing Life

By Elizabeth Cutright
© 2012 The Daily Creative Writer


Last week I talked about organizing your life, but since it’s Monday (well, technically Tuesday – but all that really proves is that my organizational skills could use some improving!), maybe we can start off with something a little simpler: organizing your story.


Over at Galley Cat, there’s a quick and dirty rundown detailing how to outline any novel or story.  Use any one of these tools, the site promises, and you will be able to “keep your characters, themes and settings organized, leaving you free to write.”


The Five Tools: Excel, Google-docs, Trello, WorkFlowy and “the good old fashioned Snowflake Method.

You can find details at the link, but I’m curious – do you use outlines extensively for your stories, poems, essays, etc?  I was a big-time outliner back in college – my research papers evolved from a series of notes on ruled 3x5s that were then numbered according to a main outline.  From there, I’d just sort my cards numerically and start writing.  I’ve never been able to really replicate this methodology for my fiction endeavors.  I’ve tried writing out scenes (or even just scene titles) on notecards and sorting them all, but it doesn’t really “gel” in a successful way.




All Content is the sole Property of Elizabeth Cutright and The Daily Creative Writer, if you are reading this blog on another site, it has been reposted without the author’s permission and is in violation of the DMCA. © 2012 The Daily Creative Writer


3 thoughts on “

  1. It was very liberating when I stopped outlining. It was a great tool in college and, frankly, it is *still* a great tool for me in my engineering career when I’m making a presentation or a technical document. But for writing? It turned out to be the death of many writing projects.

    It’s actually the topic of a pending post of my own but I think the main thing I don’t like about an outline is it turns the story around: in fiction, we build to a scene or act conclusion. In an outline, you start with big picture and drill down. The outline is backwards of how we write. We don’t write “Joe was murdered, Joe left the house, Joe woke up,” moving from the big picture to the details. It’s the other way around. We need reverse-polish-notation outlines 🙂

    These days, I write synopsis. I do use outlines for small near term tasks, like sketching out a chapter or the next few scenes but that’s about it.

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