The Christmas season is fast approaching. Along with giving to my favorite charities, I’m also in the mood for giving UP…on outlines.
During a creative writing course at Marquette University in Milwaukee, our instructor listed the top ten ways to improve one’s writing. Taking the time to create an outline was critical, he said.
“Bah! Humbug!” I say.
I wrote outlines for two of the Quests of Shadowind books, the second being for Book 7, Dungeontomb. About 1/4 of the way through, the characters put a “stake of holly” through the heart of my outline and stole the story, including the "bed curtains." Once again, I find myself frantically chasing after those people with notepad in hand.
So as I abandon the labors of my outline, I only hope that I’m not visited tonight by the Ghosts of Past and Present Tense, and that my future is less tense without outlines.