Readjusting the outline

So today I’ve been elbows deep in paring down my outline for Big Cats Don’t Purr. I’ve been such a hardcore pantser for so long, that switching to outlining ahead of time seems to create this mind set that I can’t alter the outline. Last night I had to give myself a mental smack and go, “And why not?”

Uh, good point. Sure enough, the moment I agreed that the next scene I had listed didn’t have to be in the story, a new one promptly came up and took it’s place. One that fits the story better. It alters the next few scenes, but still fits in with the Key Turning Points of the story. Better yet, this route will make the book stronger. Some sane, intelligent people never have to teach themselves this. They know that when you make an outline you can change it. Logically, I knew it too… I just didn’t really believe it.

So part of me wonders, if just working from a Key Points outline would suit me better than a scene-by-scene outline. To test this, I’ve been copying and pasting the scenes I know need to be in this story into a new document and I’ll go by that one. If I get stuck, I’ll pop back over to the scene-by-scene one, but really, this already feels like a happy medium between: Writing the whole thing off of nothing but a brief scene idea and a glimpse of a character, and writing down their every move before I even start writing.

The first gives me headaches in the rewrites (and boy do I mean rewrites) and the second makes me feel like I’m just filling in the blanks. At the very least, I’m finally trusting the fact that I can alter my outline to better suit the story as we go… but at the same time, I actually know where I’m going with a story for once.

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