Best Practices in Writing by Mary Catherine Rishcoff Article 4

by | Jun 12, 2019 | Entry | Blog writing competition | 0 comments

     Quite frankly, an essential part of writing is outlining. It can and should be included among the best practices in writing. Outlining serves to structure the writer’s thoughts, ideas, phrases and whatever else that the author chooses for the literary work. Hence, outlining is prudent.

     Exactly how to go about outlining is not too difficult of a practice. Basically, the author is preparing a framework for the story. The author may write the outline by chapters or otherwise.

In my situation of writing children’s storybooks, I usually outline by pages. I present the thoughts, ideas and phrase of the story in order of page, since my children’s books are not too lengthy. I let the theme or messages guide the outlining. Of course, the uses of any special words or phrases are definitely added to the outline.

     When outlining by chapters, the use of pen and paper, instead of the use of the computer can be helpful. I prefer to use pen and paper. A writer can start with the introduction, then proceed to identify the chapters one by one. For example, chapter one may give the background of the story. Chapter two would introduce a new element. For every chapter of the literary work, there would be thoughts, ideas and phrases added. Once the rudiments are written, the author can proceed.

     With outlining, subdividing and subdividing are relevant. An author who pays attention to details and facts is more likely to succeed in writing a quality work than an author who does not. Subdividing allows the paying attention to details and facts. Also, it allows getting specific.

     With each of the subdivisions, the author presents word selections, phrases and sentences in order to enable the conveying of the desired message. In my storybook, The Treetop, the Wind, and the Balloon, I choose to use the word volley. The usage of the word volley led me to a sentence suited to describing the message that I wanted to convey. Also, I chose such words as climb and chase to convey the desired meanings on other pages in the story.

Pen, paper and dictionary helped me to organize my thoughts, ideas and else into an outline, then into exacting sentences.

     What is so special about an outline is that it allows adding and changing facts or information so easily. An author can readily proof his outline to make changes. It is what I like to call a “variable consistency”, that is the words, phrases and sentences are not set in stone, but rather they are flowing from one idea to the next.

     A beginning writer may question exactly how an outline helps to write a literary work. A more experienced writer, no doubt, understands the how and why of outlining as relevant to creating a quality literary work. For example, if in chapter one, a writer introduces the background of the story, the outline would cite facts, words and phrases on that background. The subdivisions would contain more facts, words and phrases detailing the previous facts, words and phrases. Then, after the outline is completed, it would contain the rudiments of the literary work.

     The rudiments of a story require expression as sentences to form a literary work.  For an experienced writer, composing sentences from an outline is like buttering a slice of bread with softened butter. The author brings his writing skills into play after an outline is completed. Use of the details presented makes for the structuring and connecting of sentences, which is the actual process of writing a literary work itself. An amateur writer may struggle with the actual process of writing, but a well-done outline will serve to take the writing experience far along.

     Let me briefly discuss the outlining of a literary work by chapters. The use of a chapter title would be helpful to the generating of an outline. The chapter title would do well to embody the message of that chapter. Although, I outline by pages, I, often use the title of my literary work to generate the outline. Such practice of naming serves to assist an author, not only to collect ideas, but, also, to focus on specific ideas. After all, a literary work starts with a collection of ideas as well as the focusing on those ideas. To get an idea is the start of the best practices in writing. It is the start to writing a literary work.

     In summation, whether a writer is an amateur or experienced, the writer would do well to outline the prospective work. Outlining would enable the easy flow of the thoughts, ideas and other pertinent information contained in a literary work. It would allow the constructing of the sentences necessary to the expressing of the story. It would allow the connecting of the sentences with greater ease, also. After all, once the thoughts, ideas and other information are outlined, it is largely a matter of the writer’s skills that will determine not only the ease of writing, but, also, the quality of a literary work. Like research, outlining is paramount to the best practices of writing.


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