I was poleaxed (whatever that means).
In writing for TV, outlines were god.
Once you got an assignment to write a show, the first thing demanded of you was the outline. How else would the producers know what you were going to do? How would you, the writer, know what you are doing? Then the outline gets revised until finally the go-ahead-to-script happened because the writer already made every intention of the drama understood. This was often followed by the smart-assed congratulatory comment: “With this outline, now go home and write the script. It will write itself.” I can’t tell you how many times I got that silly comment. If that were true, then why the hell didn’t they just shoot the outline? I thought it but didn’t say it. But the meaning was clear. If the outline had everything it needed in it, then the writer’s work was considered half done.
I couldn’t understand the novelist. How can you write a book without outlines?
Even Wikipedia uses outlines...
What, you just sat down and started writing? On page one? How is that possible? How do you remember all the bits and pieces of dialogue that you think of in the middle of the night? Or the characters and their names and every single detail you need to put in somewhere in the book? Or chapter builds or the thousand and one details that go into your book that you need to track?
I am an outline junkie. I write and re-write my outlines with every novel. When I change anything in the book, I need to revise the outline to remember where I placed it in case I need to refer to it again. The outline is my alter ego. I cannot live without it. I could go on and on about how I desperately cling to my outline.
Maybe this confession demeans me in the eyes of my compatriots. It is my shameful secret. So, be it.
Anyone else out there who outlines?