Make an Outline… or Don’t.

I. Making outlines is helpful to some writers.

  1. Depending on what I’m writing, I actually write outlines.
    1. Not always, because they can be cumbersome and a waste of time if I choose to format them.
  2. Outlines help organize your thoughts.
  3. They also make it easier to see the pacing of your fiction.
    1. If you notice most of your chapters have five events, but one chapter has sixteen… well… you know which one needs to get cut up and made into separate sections.

II. I believe in three types of outlines: pre-production, peri-production, and post-production

  1. A pre-production outline is one you compose before you begin writing.
    1. It helps you to organize your thoughts and to set-up your writing for better flow.
  2. A peri-production outline is one you compose while you write.
    1. It lets you keep track of where you’ve been with your writing so that you can check what you’ve already covered when you hit a rough spot.
  3. A post-production outline is one you write after you begin writing.
    1. I often do this after I’ve finished chapters.
    2. I guess I make a peri/post-production outline of my fiction.

III. You don’t need to write an outline.

  1. Yeah, they aren’t required.
  2. It’s pretty much whatever you want to do.
  3. You know how you work.
  4. If you need more organization in your life and a good way to keep track of your longer work without having to read it over and over and over again-then make an outline.
  5. If not then don’t.
    1. Simple as that.

IV. I swear they’re helpful.

By J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her master’s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessica’s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.