Posted in Publications on Coffee House Writers, Writing

Writing Methods: Outlining Vs. Pantsing

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This is part one of a series about different writing methods. I will share different approaches you can try to unlock your creativity. This week I will talk about outlining versus pantsing.

Creativity is a fickle thing. What works for one person doesn’t work for another. Many times, each project uses a different method. Experimenting is the best way to figure out what will work best for you and each of your projects.

Outlining

Plot

This is the best-known writing method. When most people think of outlines they remember the detailed, paragraph-by-paragraph plan we had to turn in for research papers in school. The truth is, outlining can be as comprehensive or as sparse as you want it to be.

Some writers describe every scene in detail from the beginning through the end in a scene list. Others put these scene descriptions into a table that tracks the point of view, characters, timeline, and word count for each scene. Still, others fill out all the major plot points in a beat sheet, while some know only the beginning and end before they start writing.

For an example of a beat sheet, read Save the Cat or Save the Cat Writes a Novel. You can also use any number of beat sheets available online. A beat is a plot point. There are various methods and numbers of beats you could choose to plan. Some beat sheets calculate the approximate page number where something should happen depending on the target word count of the project.

Shop around and see if you can find a beat sheet or outlining method that might work for you.

Character

So far, I have mentioned outlining methods that focus on planning out the plot. Some writers sketch out their characters in addition to, or instead of outlining plots. There are many techniques for building characters.

For example, [Read More]

Author:

I am an aspiring author and contributor here on Coffee House Writers, Functionally Fictional and a character blog called West Oak, OR (coming soon). I am currently going to school online to get my BA in English Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. I am an avid reader and have been writing since I was a child. For me, the writing was an extension of playing pretend. In many ways, it still is. I hope to inspire and entertain people with my writing. You can see my blog at https://hayleygreen.blog and my character blog at https://westoakor.com (coming soon).

4 thoughts on “Writing Methods: Outlining Vs. Pantsing

  1. Hey,

    Hope you are doing well.

    Not sure if I have sent this request before.

    I am scheduling Mental Health Awareness re-blogs for the month of May, can I share a blog post of yours that’s related to the subject in any way.

    Your words can help educate the readers on the subject and give validation to the ones traveling in the same boat.

    Thank you! 🙂

    Like

    1. Hello,

      First of all, thank you for taking the time to comment.

      As for posts about Mental Health, you have several to choose from:

      A poem about depression: http://coffeehousewriters.com/depression-is-winter/
      A therapy exercise to have better self-talk: http://coffeehousewriters.com/heroine-therapy-exercise/
      An excercise in exploring your deepest fears: http://coffeehousewriters.com/exploring-my-deep-seated-fears/
      An article about quitting work for mental health reasons: http://coffeehousewriters.com/quitting-work-for-my-mental-health/
      An exercise in looking for the bright side and dealing with stress: http://coffeehousewriters.com/strategy-to-deal-with-stress/
      Finally, a personal account of my own mental illness: http://coffeehousewriters.com/schizoaffective/

      I hope you find something you want to reblog!

      Liked by 1 person

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