Three Benefits of Using an Outline to Write Fiction

Using an outline when writing isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation.  Different methods work for different people and some writers choose not to use one at all.  With that being said, there are some definite advantages to using an outline, especially when writing bigger projects such as novels.  Here are three points to keep in mind:


  • An outline helps you stay organized.  Use a MS Word document to make notes on each scene, bits of dialogue and any research or other information you’ll need to write a particular section.


  • You’ll know what comes next.  This will help keep your momentum going once you begin writing an actual draft and reduce the likelihood of getting stuck.


  • An outline will make it easier to find and fix errors such as plot holes, discrepancies in your story’s timeline and smaller details such as when a character might need to use a certain book — all without having the entire manuscript fall apart in the process.


If you’ve used an outlining method before, it’s possible that you might be able to think of even more benefits that aren’t listed here; but these are three big ones to keep in mind.  If you’ve never tried outlining before, give it a shot.  You may need to try a few different methods before finding one that suits your needs; but it will be time well spent — and will save you time in the long run.


Image by Dave Coustan, Flickr.

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