Monday, January 1, 2024

To Outline Or Not

Do you write outlines for your characters or do you let them develop (organically) on the screen?  

Per Advice to Writers, Walter Mosley prefers to discover his characters while writing; however, some of his writer friends prefer to use detailed outlines. Mosley reportedly said:

I have writer friends who spend a great deal of time outlining and detailing the biographies of their major characters. Through this process, I am told, they discover the motivations underlying actions taken by these players as they move across the stage of the novel [...] 

It is, however, not my way of discovery. I meet my characters the way I encounter people in life—at a place and in a situation where I have less knowledge than I’d like and am almost always, at first, paying attention to the least important details. After that, I’m in discovery mode.

In the end, one method may not be better than the other, but a writer may want to try both methods and choose the one that he or she finds the most beneficial. 

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