(Do not read the image…

(Do not read the image in detail unless you want spoilers for my book!) I often have my students do a reverse outline, and now I'm doing it for my novel. The idea is that while sometimes it works to do an outline first and then write your piece, often, writers prefer to write more organically, without plotting out the piece first. Which is all well and good until you get partway through and realize that the piece could use a little more structure.

So then you stop and do a reverse outline, which is basically going through paragraph by paragraph (for a paper) or scene by scene (for a novel), and writing down what you've done. In that process, you can discover holes, places that could use more energy, etc. and so on. So you make notes on that, and then you go back and fix it -- maybe you end up deleting an entire section as extraneous, or adding in a few to clarify matters.

I find reverse outlines really useful, though it sure would be nice if it came out perfectly the first time!

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