Outlining in Reverse

This recent article on outlining and not-outlining works of fiction is quite good. I’ve had similar problems with the outlining process exhausting all my interest in a particular story. The solution? Outline in reverse, as the title says. Here are a few bon mots (“good sayings”) from the writer, Aaron Hamburger (The View From Stalin’s Head, Faith for Beginners):

In my experience, one of the surest ways to kill the creative energy of a work of fiction at its inception is with an outline.

As with any good tool, there is a limit to the use of reverse outlining and a danger of its abuse. Reducing a process as intuitive and sometimes emotional as writing to the objectivity of solving a mathematical equation isn’t always helpful or desirable.


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