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Friday, July 30, 2021

Writing Organically vs. Writing With An Outline

 An age-old question most writers are face with is―should I write my story organically, or should I use an outline to write my story? I personally believe that a writer can’t go wrong either way even though my preferred method of storytelling is to create it organically. I’ve tried both methods over the years, but I feel more comfortable writing off the cuff. Every novel has to have a basic blueprint of some sort, or else the story will fall flat. Outliners would probably agree with this concept while organic writers believe more in the spontaneity of a story. Nevertheless, an author has to choose the right style―a novel will seem contrived to the person reading it if an author chooses a writing technique that isn’t suitable to his or her abilities. 

The Architect.

There are essentially two types of writers―the gardener and the architect. The architect needs to develop each scene and sequence step-by-step, construct each character arc, and craft the plot and subplot, for example. Authors like J.K. Rowling and John Grisham fall into this category, and this type of writer controls every detail of the story from beginning to end. If the architect plans each step correctly, a bestselling novel is imminent. I’ve tried writing from an outline but inevitably reverted back to flowing organically. I would simply write down chapters as they popped up inside my head (a simple scene list) and would use the chronological method of writing these scenes in an attempt to color inside the lines, but I never stuck to the outline once my story started flowing.

Young Novelist

The Gardener.

The gardener is the type of writer who dabbles in developing a story organically as opposed to crafting a traditional novel outline, and authors like Stephen King fall into this category. However, the gardener has an idea of what the storyline will be and uses a mind map as a guide. This style of writing suits me perfectly, as I love the freedom of researching my characters as I go and often use dialogue to set the scenes.

As I mentioned previously, an author should develop a writing style naturally―one might make the mistake of emulating their favorite author (I’ve done it) instead of honing one’s own technique of writing stories. An author also shouldn’t have a fear of failing at writing the first few novels because each failure brings one closer to success.

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