Unforeseen Endings & Other Gifts of a Flexible Novel Outline

Unforeseen Endings & Other Gifts of a Flexible Novel Outline

Daniel Schwabauer
Outlines aren’t the only way to bring shape to a story. A bad outline will drive you compulsively in the wrong direction. Instead of giving advice, it will give commands. It will tell you to write what it summarizes, regardless of how the story has changed in your mind during the telling. “I am the story,” a bad outline will say. And if you listen to it, your story will be bad too.

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How One Smart Scene Can Pull the Weight of Many

How One Smart Scene Can Pull the Weight of Many

By Rachel Garner, Staff Writer
For six years, I couldn’t figure out how to write an opening scene for my book. It’s a running joke among my friends that I’m an obsessive editor—I’ve spent nearly ten years now on the book itself—but my struggles with chapter 1 were especially ridiculous.

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