Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Vague Outline

I was thinking about outlines the other day, not for any specific project I'm working on, just in general.

When I first began writing, the thought of composing an outline for a creative work seemed like creative suicide.  Up to that point, outlines were the evil, unbending things they made us create for papers in English and Composition class.  But after a few crushing bouts of writer's block, I realized something had to change in the way I was writing.

I then had my "outline epiphany."  This wasn't Composition class anymore.

An outline didn't have to be some rigid format that I had to follow to the letter or get points counted off for it.  My outline could be fluid, a springboard or a collection of brainstorming output.  Outlines became more of an ad lib script that I handed to my characters and said, "This is the situation guys.  How are we going to get out of this one?"

Each character I create has his or her own set of quirks and insecurities that shape how they approach a particular problem.  The loose framework is ideal for them, because they are so diverse in their experiences.

Thus, the Vague Outline was born...

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