Book 2: Outline vs. Discovery writing

Book 2: Outline vs. Discovery writing

I wrote Genesis without an outline. I had no idea where it was going when I started, but I had what I thought would be a great ending. That ending got cut. In effect, the entire book was formed on the fly and I fixed all the inconsistencies during the editing process. I absolutely loved it. Not knowing what would happen next and following the ideas as they popped into my head offered both excitement and delightful turns. There’s something intoxicating about holding the life of people (my characters) in your hands and having complete power over their lives. 

With that glowing description, it probably seems weird that I’m outlining my second book. Why?


Discovery writing requires more time to edit and to get around writing block when you don’t know what comes next. I never considered having any scenes from Adam’s perspective when I started. I had no idea what genre my book would be in. I didn’t have any concept of the structure until the end when I tried to fit a structure on to the finished story. Outlining gives you a plan to follow so that consistency, structure, writer block and all those types of things are much less of an issue. Further, if I want to make money off of my writing, I know I have to put out at least one book per year to keep readers engaged.

Losing the opportunity to discover

Some people think that outlining a novel makes it so you can’t do discovery writing and all the joy is gone before the real writing ever starts. Not true. There’s a delightfully and awkwardly titles novel called Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker. A “Pantser” is a name for someone who discovery writes. In that book, she provides an outline framework that still leaves you with the freedom to do discovery write, while still providing enough structure to make sure your readers will love the book. Before I read that book, I was torn between the Outlining and Discovery. Libbie pointed out that it doesn’t have to be an Either/OR decision. I highly recommend her book, and you can read book 2 in the Genesis series to see how it comes out as I’ve used her methodology for the outline of the book.

Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing: Revised Edition (Kindle Edition)

By (author): Libbie Hawker
When it comes to writing books, are you a “plotter” or a “pantser?” Is one method really better than the other?

In this instructional ebook, author Libbie Hawker explains the benefits and technique of planning a story before you begin to write. She’ll show you how to develop a foolproof character arc and plot, how to pace any book for a can’t-put-down reading experience, and how to ensure that your stories are complete and satisfying without wasting time or words.

Hawker’s outlining technique works no matter what genre you write, and no matter the age of your audience. If you want to improve your writing speed, increase your backlist, and ensure a quality book before you even write the first word, this is the how-to book for you.

Take off your pants! It’s time to start outlining.

This Revised Edition includes answers to the most popular questions regarding Libbie Hawker’s outlining method.