“To Outline or Not to Outline”

Before I get to the topic at hand, I would like to announce that my new book, The Priest and The Peaches officially launched two days ago. So, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It is in e-book format and the publisher is Tribute Books. This is a work of fiction and I would like to let you all  know that, in my own way, I have tried to compliment, praise and elevate the priesthood with this work. In fact, part of the dedication is to the priesthood. The truth is, I’m sick and tired of all the anti-catholic, anti-priest stuff that has been smothering everyone, and maybe, in my own small way, I might be able to counteract that. Anyway, if you might want to take a peek at the book you can go to http://www.thepriestandthepeaches.com.  Okay–to the point at hand.

I have been fulfilling numerous requests for “guest posts” on blog-sites. You know how that goes. They ask you to write 300 to 500 words about such things as writing habits, inspiration, character development, character interviews, etc. etc..  One question I was asked was, “Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?” So, let me “fess up” about me and outlining.

I think they call someone like me a “pantser”. That is because I do go along for the ride and “fly by the seat of my pants”.  I outline the book after I’m done. I mean, I do have a potential ending in sight when I start, but, like some of those remodeling jobs I have done in the past, I never know what to expect. I might tear out a wall and, lo and behold, there are plumbing pipes staring at me. Where did they come from? You don’t want them there but you cannot get rid of them so–you adapt and change things. Consequently, as I write things become clearer and clearer, and anticipating problems and glitches happens more quickly.

Ultimately, I outline when I’m finished. I understand that, according to all the “poohbahs” out there, I am doing it all wrong. Well, my goal is to get to the finish line. For me, getting there is all that counts. If I fall down ten times, bust myself up and wind up bloodied in the process, I don’t care. Look, I am probably the type of writer you do not want to emulate. But, when all is said and done, we must march to the beat of our own drum and I have always had a hard time keeping in step with the beat.

I sincerely hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas, and a I wish Happy New Year to all of you.

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4 Responses to “To Outline or Not to Outline”

  1. I don’t usually write from an outline either. I do try to see what I’ve got after my first draft, and detect the outline that has emerged, in order to edit. The tearing out walls analogy sums it up.

    That said, I’m about to beg for help from some friends in writing up an outline, to whip my sprawling nasty draft of a next book into something focused and marketable. A season for everything, ya know?

  2. ellengable says:

    Congrats on your new book, Larry!

    As the author of three (soon-to-be four) novels, I’ve always started with an outline of what my story is going to be. It doesn’t always end up exactly as I’ve outlined it (sometimes the story writes itself). However, I personally like writing the first draft with the outline in place.

    • Hey Ellen–thanks for the congrats. For me, when I have outlined, I find myself somewhat a prisoner of the outline and it stifles me when I want to go in a different direction. So, I do it backwards. But, that’s me. I’m a bit screwy anyway.

  3. Larry, congratulations on your guest blog at The Catholic Writers Guild site. You did a fantastic job with your post.