At Blogchatter, we had a creative writing e-course and when we were planning the assignments to be given to the participants, we decided to personalize it by asking them a simple question – what do you need help with.

The top concern, to my surprise, was writing an outline.

One of the things I love about working with Blogchatter is: I am at once the authority and the student. So, when the question of writing an outline came up, I thought to myself – what is my opinion, as a writer, on this point.

The answer came immediately: I don’t understand it.

And hence was born today’s blog post, because bahut gyaan ho gaya, now it is time for something fun:

Writing outlines

While I get the merit behind it, the one time I did write an outline, when I was young and attempting a manuscript for the first time and following all the rules like a good girl, I checked back months later and realized I had completely deviated from it. There was nothing common and though the outline had some great ideas, what I finally wrote was better. And then I came to know people outline their chapters.

WRITING OUTLINES

Knowing everything about your character

I remember seeing this video of JKR where she drew Newt’s family tree going back and forward three (or more?) generations. While I was suitably impressed, I have no clue who my character’s ancestors are. Forget ancestors, I don’t even know what they’re going to do in the next chapter! Apart from a basic understanding of who they are, I like to discover them as the story progresses.

KNOWING EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER

Spending months on planning

While I do have a notebook filled with ideas for my manuscript, I think I spent barely a week planning how I’ll go about writing it. I am usually quite eager to start and often under plan. I do get annoyed with myself when I’m in the middle of the story and feeling a little lost, but I can’t help myself! I get bored of planning and end up retracing my steps to figure out how to go forward.

SPENDING MONTHS ON PLANNING

Now that I have told you my 3 things, its only fair you tell me your 3 things. Ready, steady, go!


The whole of September, I will be sharing posts on things I have learnt about writing. I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.

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15 thoughts on “3 things I don’t understand about writing

  1. JKR is just amazing. The way she weaved the story over seven books (and more!) with so much of interconnecting details is just brilliant. I am in awe of it and every time I think about it, the sheer brilliance takes my breath away. The planning, outlining and fleshing out the characters makes me go mad at times. That’s one of the reasons why I stick to flash fiction these days. So I’m in total agreement with you on this one.

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      1. Me, I’m afraid. 🙈 The last time I tried to write a novel, I ended up as a mess. Of course, that occurred partly because I’d taken too much breaks in between. After that, it’s like I’m scared to attempt it again.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah I get it. My manuscript also had a LONG break in between. The problem was, in that break I had evolved as a writer so it felt like part 1 and 2 a different writer has written and part 3 another one. You gotta find a way. Only way is through.

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      3. Exactly. I have to start from scratch. But the main thing is that it’s going to take time. And right now, I don’t have the luxury of that much time. 😅 Maybe in a few months, I’ll try again

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  2. I spend days scribbling and then when I do the final thing…It’s just continuous sitting for a long time…Looking at what I’ve scribbled and writing something completely different. But somewhere that final free flow happens because whatever I scribble stays in my subconscious. So yes, that outline is important for me.

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  3. That’s the charm of being a team member with Blogchatter. So many things to teach and learn at the same time.
    I have never outlined my blogs except for my latest ebook. But still, I think need to learn it the professional way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Blogging and writing are all about not understanding things and then learning them and new things too. This month of My friend Alexa has taught me a lot and i thank the entire team for this challenge. I am getting withdrawal symptoms as the month is coming to an end.

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