Who actually outlines their novels? I know a well variety of people who outline and people who don’t outline. For the people who do not outline, is that a bad thing? No.
Outlining means to lay your novel out flat before you even begin writing it. You write the basic idea, certain scenes you want, character bios, etc. in a notebook, on the computer, on index cards, what have you. It’s almost as if you’ve mapped out your brain so when you do start writing, you’re able to write, write, write!
Outlining is optional when it comes to writing. It’s not like the first draft stage or the editing stage; you can actually skip the outlining stage. It works for some people, but it doesn’t work for others. Some prefer to freewrite from the get-go and go from there.
Personally, I find outlining to be a huge help, but even I don’t do it all the time.
I think it depends on the kind of project your writing. When deciding if you should outline your novel before writing, ask yourself:
–Are there going to be a lot of characters that need developing? –How many different ways can my plot go? Will there be any opportunities where the plot will rip and cause a hole?
–Where are my characters based? Is the setting fiction or based off of a real place?