So is a writing outline always needed?
I would think that a structured outline would be imperative for writing non-fiction – especially book-length non-fiction.
And then with creative writing, you could be a little more free to wander around without a plan.
And what do I know?
Dani Shapiro has written 10 marvelous books.
And I write in the internet for three people.
Exceptthat when it comes to creative writing—by which I mean the kind of work that the artist Anne Truitt describes as “the strict discipline of forcing oneself to work steadfastly along the nerve of one’s own most intimate sensitivity”—outlines are not necessarily helpful. We need Doctorow’s fog. If we know too much about where we’re going, the work will suffer along the way. It will convulse and die before our eyes. We’ll end up dragging along a corpse until finally, exhausted, we just give up.
-Dani Shapiro, Still Writing