I just can’t do outlines

Lately, I’ve found that my chapter outlines are just completely pointless. Almost to the point of being self-defeating. I know I’ve talked about this before but it’s actually kind of funny how much of a departure I end up taking from my outlines now.

I think it’s because when I’m writing the outlines, I’m thinking through my mind. How I think things should go down. But my characters do what they want. I sit down to write and quickly learn that they don’t want to do what I want them to do. And they don’t think what I want them to think. It’s a really bizarre feeling and I’m sure I could describe the sensation better, but that’s just it.

It’s just strange for me to say, no matter how many times I say it, that I feel like a vessel through which these characters are telling their story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great feeling. It tends to be rather jarring and at times confounding, but I love it.

And I think that’s the way stories need to be told. Of course there are certain themes that I want in the novel and a few messages I’d like to make clear, but that comes secondary to their story. Which fits perfectly because a major theme in the novel is the spike in political awareness since the 2016 election. I want to incapsulate that transformation from only caring about ourselves to gradually growing more and more frustrated with our current state of affairs.

But this post isn’t about themes, it’s about outlines! Even though I have this uncanny ability to relate anything to anything 😉

Anyway, I’m thinking that maybe the outline is sort of a cheat. My characters have no idea what’s about to happen so why should I? Now obviously that won’t work in the grand scheme of things, I do still have a very loose outline of like point A to point B to point C, things that need to be said, major plot points, et cetera. What I’m saying is that the nitty gritty “this is how the conversation should go” never works for me. And I’m fine with that.

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