I used to say I didn’t but realized I do. Just not the way people think.
I outline backwards.
Once a chapter is written, I write a brief synopsis. As the story gets longer, it’s a good way for me to keep track of characters and pivotal points.
When I start a new story, I don’t know how it will end. Mapping a trail sounds great to me—until my characters change in ways I can’t anticipate and then the rest of the map doesn’t work anyway.
Have I ever tried the usual way of outlining? Yes. And as soon as the outline was done, I realized I had no reason to write the story anymore because I knew what was going to happen. I was bored.
For me, one of the joys when I write is getting a new story. A story where I can be just as surprised at who is behind the pounding on that front door as the reader will be. If that makes no sense, I can’t help it, that’s how it is for me.
Two of the most important words in any nugget of advice. If it works for you, great. If it doesn’t work for you, that’s also great, you will use other tools. There’s no sense in forcing yourself to use a tip that doesn’t feel right. Take what you can use or experiment with and discard the rest.
* Image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net