Do I Have To Fully Outline My Book?

If you're a plotter, you've probably asked yourself this question: Do I have to fully outline my book? it okay to just outline a little at a time?

That's a fantastic question, and today, I'm going to answer it!

Let's go!


Short answer: no, you do not need to fully outline your book.

But here's the long answer.

Every writer has a different writing process. Some are plotters, and some are pantsers, for example. (And yes, maybe some of you are plotsers. ;) )

You have to find the writing process that works best for you.

For example, I pantsed most of my second novel, but outlined a few scenes at a time so I could get a grip on where I wanted the scenes to go. That worked for a little while, until I realized that the novel felt like a bunch of scenes being pasted together. It didn't have much of a plot at all.

Pantsing didn't end up working for me, so now I'm a plotter. That's what I've discovered works best for me.


Now, should you outline your entire book before writing it?

I would say yes. Even if you just have a small outline—100 words for each scene, for instance—it will be worth it!

You can fully outline your novel and write a 15,000-word outline, or you can write a much shorter version. It really depends on what works best for you.

Just remember that when you're outlining your novel, it's almost like writing your first draft. But the nice thing is that you can just write 100 words before realizing that a scene isn't going to work, instead of writing 1,000+ words and having to delete all of that hard work.

So there you have it! No, you do not have to fully outline your book before you write it, although I generally recommend that you do. An outline keeps your book on track, but if you can write a fantastic book by pantsing it, then do what works best for you!


what about you?
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you think you should fully outline YOUR book?


  1. Great advice, Julia! I personally love outlining and usually spend a month or two plotting/outlining my novel before actually writing it, and it has been SO helpful! :D

    1. That's great, Bella! I love outlining too, and yeah, it sometimes takes a couple of months to finish the outline, but it's worth it!! :D


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