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...