It Looked Good on Paper

I outlined this novel. Honest, I did.

And it looked good. Spent two weeks on it.

It was a good guide for about fifty pages and then

 

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It all went straight to hell. What looked good in the outline was a hot mess of  Characters Behaving Badly For No Apparent Reason in the story.

Who to believe? The outline, or the story?

 

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The story, of course. Always trust the story. Maybe without the outline, I’d have written a horrendous first draft all the way through and wound up making the same changes anyways, but it would have taken a lot longer. Or maybe I’m no good at outlining.

What I’m wondering is whether it’s just me. Do you outline, and if so, how well does it work for you? Is it possible to outline a story and have it come out the way you planned, or does the outline just save you the pain of another draft on your way to a better story?

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