Outlines: One of Those Necessary Evils

Updated: Jun 3



I hate, I mean hate, making an outline for my books. Outlines can take on all kinds of forms too. Yet, it still feels too much like work.

When writing my books, the only outline I usually do is a character outline. Their names, what they do in the story, how they died, if they died, or if they were the killer. Maybe some other information pertinent to the story, character based only.

However, my third book in my Damien Kaine Series is more complicated than the other books. It is a political thriller and it contains a complicated plot. I needed to make sure I keep my story line straight as well as my forensics. I hate bad science in a story.

Since I hate writing outlines, actually I suck at putting them together, I needed to come up with another outline form that worked for me. After all, that’s what you should do as writer, find what works for you.

So, after a few glasses of whiskey, only because I was frustrated…I tried something new. (My editor Mari Farthing (@MariFarthing) will be so happy with me.) I used a simple chapter outline. Um, when I say simple, I mean simple.

Here is an example of what I mean:


I thought about where I needed my story to go. I wrote something about each of the main topics and went from there. Now, what you see, is very simple. And when I write my chapters, these notes fill up several chapters. Each line is a topic. As I move through my story, I expound on each topic. Of course, adding dialogue, setting, backstory, or whatever is needed.

This works for me. I find it to be easy and it helps me move through my story line. Remember, for me this is just a guide. A way for me to keep my thoughts clear on how I want my story to flow.

Here’s the deal, sometimes others think their way of doing something is the only way it should be done. You need to do what works for you. Not any one thing will work for everyone. We all write differently. Some stand, some sit, some need to write listening to music or some kind of background noise.

I write while I am sitting on this oversize chair.


I also listen to music. Can’t write without tunes. Go with what works for your brain. No matter how weird it may be.

Please share.



I write crime fiction horror, thriller, and paranormal novels. My time in the Coast Guard and my degree in Forensic Chemistry helps me create fantastic stories. If I'm not writing, I am binge watching Netflix and probably drinking whiskey.


You can find me on Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon, and LinkedIn.

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Fatal Dominion cover photo  "Madison 03" by Paul Frederickson is licensed under CC by- sa 2.0

Innocence Taken cover photo: Credit/Copyright Attribution: Lario Tus/Shutterstock
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