So I just wrapped up chapter 16 in my new WIP. As you can probably guess if you read my Muddle in the Muddle post, I’m trudging through the middle section right now, slowly but surely. And to ensure the middle part is up to snuff, I took some time last night to sketch out a brief outline for the next 5+ chapters based on the elements mentioned in my last post. I was pretty stoked about it since I never really outline. So today when I sat down to write out a brilliant new chapter (hehe), I read over my outline first. And I tried to follow it, scout’s honor, but once I got going with it, I kind of…well…didn’t follow it at all. I changed up the route my characters are heading down so much, the rest of the outline I hammered out for a couple hours yesterday will probably be mostly useless.

But this isn’t the first time an outline has deemed itself unnecessary. In fact, the tentative outline I made last summer in a tutorial class for my thesis contemporary novel turned out to be pretty much unneeded as well. Sure, a few of the main ending ideas that were tossed around by my fellow classmates stuck. But the outline I made? Not so much.

So I guess I’m curious if anyone reading this has ever compiled an outline that turned out to be extremely useful while writing. Anyone follow an outline to the letter? Or even follow it somewhat, still finding it overall beneficial to the completion of your story? If so, what are your secrets?