Strategies for Organizing Your Ideas


Strategies for Organizing Your Ideas

Writers need strategies that make writing systematic but do not stifle inventiveness. For this reason, most writers begin drafting with some type of plan — a list, a scratch outline, or a detailed storyboard like that used by filmmakers. Outlines can be very helpful, but they must be tentative and flexible if writers are to benefit from writing’s natural recursiveness.

I began [Invisible Man] with a chart of the three-part division. It was a con- ceptual frame with most of the ideas and some of the incidents indicated.


You are always going back and forth between the outline and the writing, bringing them closer together, or just throwing out the outline and making a new one. — ANNIE DILLARD

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