One of the most exciting and thrilling parts of writing is when you have the pieces of a good story in your head, you have the characters, but you just don’t have the complete story scene by scene. Then suddenly out of nowhere…it hits you. When I write, I always have a general sense of what my story is about, and especially what the characters are like, but I never seem to be able to make an outline. The beginning and ending comes to me with ease. Certain scenes of importance come easily, but the entire picture? Nope.
I detest outlines, and yet they’re pretty essential. I wrote stories back to back as a child. Then as an adult I began screenwriting (and definitely outlined my film then). Now I’m novel writing, but I just can’t make myself outline. I’ve been writing as it comes to me but have had to face the fear of, what if my story gets lost in the middle? What if it doesn’t just come together like I’m imagining it will? The other day, with film scores playing through my iPod, I took the time to just focus on the whole picture. I decided to do the thing I needed so desperately to do, but always shy away from. I began to loosely outline this story I had begun, this story that has been a big part of my daydreaming, and it all just came spilling out. I couldn’t stop myself from writing down the entire story. Scene by scene came pouring as if it had sat inside, trapped, just waiting for me to finally acknowledge it. And I’ve felt so happy and pleased with myself whenever I think about it. I feel like I’ve accomplished something, even if it’s a simple outline, it’s the story I’m going to write.
Have any other writers had success with just freely writing out your story without a structure? Or do you also find outlining a necessity?