Posted in Writing

Camp NaNo: Should You Outline?

Camp NaNoWriMo is slowly approaching. Hopefully you know what you’re going to write at this point. If not… then I think you need to go get some writing done.

If you do, then that’s great! So what should you do next? You have two options:

1. You can outline your novel.
2. You can twiddle your thumbs until April arrives.

Everyone should know by now that I love outlines and I plan my novels all the time. However, not everyone works that way. Some people are planners and others are pantsers–the people who twiddle their thumbs until April and then free-write the moment NaNo begins.

Do you like following a plan? Do you like mapping out your world? Setting the scenes? Explaining small details about the characters? Then you should probably outline your novel.

Would you rather make things up as you go along? Do you want to get to know your characters as you write the novel? Then you should probably wait for April.

Everyone works differently. Everyone writes differently. Aside from getting that first draft finally done, I think that’s one of the major points of NaNo: figuring out your way of writing.

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Author:

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rachel Poli is a writer and blogger. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s degree in English Studies. She enjoys writing young adult novels, middle-grade, and children’s picture books. She is currently working on her first novel.

13 thoughts on “Camp NaNo: Should You Outline?

  1. I’ve always been a pantser. The one problem is when I run into a tale that requires a great deal of research. I have to control myself to keep from getting sidetracked in the tale with the wonderful minutia of technical and historical details. Once I get started, I have to let the characters tell the tale in their own words. The edit phase is where I work out the bugs. Good question though. Thanks for asking.

    1. I outline nine out of ten times, but if I do need to do some research as I write, I type it in bold. That way I don’t interrupt my writing and I’ll remember to look it up later. 🙂

  2. I have a basic bullet-point outline written, and I think that’s all I’m gonna run with for this NaNo. Maybe I should detail it better to have less editing later, but I kinda want to do it this way.

      1. The only reason I have anything at all is because I was originally going to write this novel last NaNo (November), but changed my mind the day before. Oops?

  3. ugh, I am completely torturing myself right now. I can’t decided whether to edit the 50K throughout the month that I already have, or to write the last 50K of the book. I know you dont really get editing for NaNo, but for me its the pressure of a competition and actually having to complete that motivates me, And I can’t work out what suits me best, whether I am desperate to edit or if finishing would help. :s

    1. That is a tough one. If it were me, I would probably finish the book first. I feel like editing it would be easier because you would have the entire story laid out already.

  4. I am such a planner! I have to outline every little detail; I’m trying to get away from that to give my characters more freedom to be themselves. I even choose what journal I write my project in during the month, because I hand-write my first draft and edit as a type so the typed manuscript is always a second draft.

    1. I have to plan for NaNo especially because I don’t want to waste any time thinking or researching… I just want to write!

      I don’t hand write for NaNo, but I totally understand what you mean. I write short stories in notebooks or novel chapters and then treat the typed version as the second draft. It’s like you get ahead of the game.

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