Look, I’ll be the first to tell you that outlining is the devil and that I hate it with a fiery passion.

At least, I used to.

Writing was never meant to be work. Writing was meant to be fun. Meant to be relaxing, something to do in my spare time. Need to get the words out, need to keep going, need to indulge myself in these new worlds.

But then these new worlds needed plot. Badly. My major project is a projected trilogy, each book has its own major events, each book is connected with a much larger, overarching plot that isn’t resolved until the very end of book 3. In this trilogy I have my favorite characters I’ve ever created, characters who I constantly play with and never want to put to work.

Outlining makes me put them to work. Makes me think of where the plot threads need to spread out, where they need to wind together, where they get knotted and tangled and where they smooth out into a singular, uniform thread.

And it’s glorious. Glorious, I tell you. Because now I know where I’m going. Now I know where I want them to go. Now I have a constant reminder of hey, this plot point needs to show up during these scenes. Oh, and this is how you pace this relationship so that it fits with the growing tensions of the over all plot, and —

You get my point.

Outlining. Used to be the bane of my existence. But now I see it  for what it is — a roadmap. Something to keep me on the right path. To keep me focused. To keep me writing.

And that’s really what’s important, isn’t it?