To Outline or Not To Outline Your Novel

outlining your novel

Outlining a novel always prompts a debate among writers. Should you outline your novel or leave the task of figuring our your novel’s plot to the impulse of your mind? I think the answer lies in the middle. While you should outline your novel, you shouldn’t outline every single event taking place. Some of it should be left unplanned so that your characters can show you the direction of the story.

“But characters aren’t real, Nour! How can they show you the direction of the story?” Characters may not be real like you and me, but they can speak through the story. If you know them inside and out, what makes them tick, their likes and dislikes, who they love, who they hate, what drives them crazy, you’ll be able to listen to their guidance. Characters will most certainly let you know how your novel should go. Often, your characters have a mind of their own and tug at you in a direction you weren’t even planning on in the first place.

For that reason, you should never outline your novel completely. Outline the key points. Your story needs to go from point A to point E. Leave points B, C, and D to your character’s discretion.You will find your novel more natural this way, and your reader will feel pulled into the story.

However, at the end of the day, whether you outline your novel or not is your choice. If you feel more comfortable outlining from the beginning to the end and you usually get better results doing that, then go for it. And if you feel that your creativity functions the best when you are spontaneous with your story, then don’t outline. You know you best. In other words, there is no one correct way to planning your novel. Do what’s most natural to you.

If you’ve found this blog helpful, be sure to check out my others for more awesome writing tips! I also have a YouTube channel where I share additional writing advice and writing humor.


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