I’ve heard many people refer to an outline as the foundation of a house, but after reading Writing Cycle and Joyously Prolific, I think a better analogy would be a MAP–a map of events or plot turns. (Yes, I like that much better. A map just sounds more exciting and colorful than a stationary dais. A map suggest action, movement, change and even the possibility of side roads.)
I have an affinity for short stories, but even I use a rudimentary outline without exception. This comes from experience and too many abandoned stories, floundering on my memory stick, that don’t have satisfactory endings. I can’t imagine writing a novel without one. That’s just crazzzzy.
Many of you may say that you don’t like outlines, and that’s okay. Go on with your bad self! Many of you say that you want the story to surprise you. You’ll be surprised alright, when you’re bailing water and can’t find your way to The End.
Me? I don’t set sail without a map that takes me all the way to the end.