To be an outliner, or to be a pantster? (technically, if actually Pantser, but I chose to use a seat of the pants spin of my own).
To plan?  To write whatever?
To think intensely through every microscopic detail?  To spontaneously erupt?

It's hard to outline, very hard.  Many, many times, I feel the urge to drop the outline for the moment and start writing - I can come back to the outline later, can't I?
If I create a plot mistake halfway through the outline and don't realize it, what's the point of writing an outline?

If I'm writing a seat of the pants novel, I will only have a rough idea of what will happen next in my novel.  I make a mistake?  I rewrite the novel (or a chapter or two accordingly).

I, myself, outline.  But it's debated on just about every writer's forum, every writer's circle, every place where an outliner and a pantster clash.

So which is better?  Outlining or Seat-of-the-pants writing?  
(Best way to do this is Pro's and Con's style, wot?)

1. You'll have an 'adventure guide' to help you through the more difficult parts of the novel.
Any place you are stuck in, you'll have a helping hand to pull you out.  (Or, relating to my last post, if supposed 'Writer's Block' snags you, your outline is the prime option to save you from disaster).
2. If you plan your novel, you will be adding to an already good storyline as you write, rather than making it all up as you write.
3. Your outline is the best way to find gaping holes in your plot, and can therefore be worked out.

And now for the Cons:
1. Supposedly, outlining constricts your creativity (we'll get back to this in a bit).
2. Outlining is excruciating work and will leave you brain dead for at least 48 hours. (I'm just kidding!)
3. For some, they feel an outline constricts their creativity while actually writing the novel.

1. Having the entire novel to be wildly creative is just fun.  Awesome.  And inspiring.
2. You can explore whatever idea pops into your head.
3. You can write tons - real fast.

1. The likelihood of your first draft (or, for that matter, 2nd and 3rd draft) being strong material is microscopical.  Meaning - it's not too likely.
2. In writing high fantasy, there is almost no way you can seat of the pants without a good deal of outlining and planning (which makes it not seat of the pants).  After all, if you seat of the pants a magical rule on page 34, it's still going to have ramifications on page 3,973, meaning - your hero can't defeat your antagonist because that would be defying the magic rule!
3. Pantstering leaves you vulnerable to the snapping teeth and jaws of our imaginary friend- that is, imaginary nemesis, Writer's Block.

So... what is best?  Well, just like every other blog post or article about this style of writing, I'm going to say whatever works for you is the best.

But.  This isn't the end of this post.  Oh no, we have more to discuss.
Do people who use outlines really not where pants when they outline?  For me, in this instance, it's true... because I'm wearing shorts.
Okay, okay, enough with this joking.

In the cons list of outlining, one of the cons I put down was that outlines constrict creativity.
To some, this is true.  But the truth is, having an outline keeps you in the borders of sanity - and realism.
How can the space monkey from Jupiter appear in chapter 5 when it was clear the Hero Rabbit was the only one Sunny Zoney and Freddy Fibonacci were able to Teliwire???

An outline will keep you from writing that mess, so that later on, you won't have to rewrite the whole chapter.

Okay, so does this mean that con isn't really a con?

To some extent, yes.
But the Pantster side does have legitimate concern for an outline (often of a fantasy story) being TOO detailed, thus instead making our Adventure Guide into a Math Lesson.  Or better - a chemistry one.

A Base Positive NEVER reacts social biologically with a N Negative, because hippopotamus is spelled with only one S! Great Golly, you kids never learn!

See what I mean?  No?  Neither did I...

Anyway.  So just how much should you outline?

This is an example that I've begun with.

- The Indians from the Great Lake Regions are living peacefully, until one day a once great tribe, the sworn enemies of the Iroquois, flee to the Iroquois pleading honestly for a treaty.  The Iroquois hold council, and finally decide to do so, after finding what their enemy tribe had fled from.  The white settlers were coming - white skins!

That's just one chapter in the style outline I prefer (and an original WordWeaver method, ;) although, someone else probably came up with it before me without I knowing it).

So, now that we've gotten nowhere with this post, you can see why I prefer outlining - this post, after all, was written without any pants. ;)

~Robert WordWeaver

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