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Quotation: On Outlining a Novel

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I thought I had finished this topic during NaNoWriMo (November), but I just found this quotation that provides a nice resolution to the question.

When asked “Do you outline your novels?” Segura replies:


Head shot: Alex Segura

“I’m that weird middle. I call it the silent majority. I don’t think everyone’s an outliner or not an outliner. I think there are a lot of writers who do both. You kind of feel out scenes, and then that leaves a trail of breadcrumbs that you can work with. But ever since I did that Star Wars novel—which required a very detailed outline before I could even start page one—I’ve become a much more diligent outliner. I think it makes the revision process much easier. There’s not as much extensive surgery going on at the end. But, usually, I start by writing character profiles. Sometimes I do a vision board, like on Pinterest or something just so I can kind of get a sense of what the thing is going to look like. Then I just start jotting down a little synopsis for each chapter, like a very rough idea. I try to keep the outline loose. I don’t want it to be so detailed that if I don’t do something in the outline, or veer off, the book will fall apart. I almost treat it a little bit like magic. I don’t want to overthink the process too much.”

Alex Segura

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