Forums › Fiction › Plotting › How do I prevent outlining from becoming a creativity killer? › Reply To: How do I prevent outlining from becoming a creativity killer?
The crazy thing is, each person is different, so I can’t really give you a one size fits all solution, but I could give a couple suggestions and maybe one will help.
First, if you don’t mind writing short stories (they’re great practice!) that might be an excellent way to find your groove. You can try full own pantsing, full on plotting, and some plansting, and see what works for you or what you could tweak.
Some pansters find a strong knowledge of story structure helps them stay on track without needing an outline. For instance, you might have no idea what will happen at your midpoint, but once you refine your story structure senses, you’ll probably know when a midpoint is needed and have a basic idea of how to write a good one.
Some people only outline their whole novel, but not their individual scenes. Or vice versa. Or they create a basic outline to keep them on track, but allow for plenty of flexibility.
Some people embrace the messiness of the panster first draft and focus on getting through it FAST. Once that mess is out of the way, they take the gold nuggets, polish them heavily, restructure the parts that sag, and take another swing at it.
Personally, I would consider myself a light outliner. I outline both my scenes and entire book, but only on a scanty to medium depth. I enjoy the stability, but it still leaves room for some spontaneous creativity. I get my creative satisfaction mainly from my prose–juicy dialogue, beautiful descriptions, setting the tone with pacing and word choice, developing symbols or motifs, etc. I find there’s so much satisfaction here I don’t worry that my outline confines me to a fairly specific story.