This best practices post is a component of the PIP Program which is being developed with the intention of combating any mainstream stigma associated with self, or independent, publishing that exists in the market place.
We have created this post to gather input on criteria associated with this topic and its place within the PIP certification process.
We would like to encourage you to contribute your opinion, advice, and expertise on this subject, as a way to help the independent publishing community establish a qualitative process of evalutation for the PIP Program.
If you are interested in contributing to other topics associated with independent publishing, please visit the PIP index and do not hesitate to participate by contributing to those topics that are of interest to you: http://www.spannet.org/page/pip-input-criteria
To learn more and to read, or critique, the current PIP statement of purpose, visit: http://www.spannet.org/group/PIPcertification/forum/topics/pip-stat...
In her post of 4/4/11, Angela Pisaturo illustrates how a chapter outline can creatively build a story block by block:
It does a good job briefly illustrating how to create the outline of the story first, and then demonstrates how the outline does not limit any creative wiggle room within the direction of the tale.
You bring up a good point, and the answer, unequivocally, is no. A Publisher, or author, would not be denied certification based solely on this point. As you know, every writer has there own style of writing, and some work better with an outline, and some work better without. So in this case, an outline is not a necessary variable for PIP certification, but it is its own subcategory because when it comes to talking about writing best practices, as there are a variety of ways to write an outline, we decided to add it is a Best Practices category so as to better organize the information.
In all of these regards, the goal of the PIP program will be to ensure that certified publishers, or authors, are capable of making well educated decisions as they navigate towards their desired goal.
One of the best practices, that should be considered, when it comes time to start an outline, is to begin by knowing how best to organize your information, for a given topic.
If you are writing fiction, a long twisting path to the end may be most rewarding for your reader. If you are writing nonfiction, organizing your information in a straight forward fashion will help validate your point(s).
Outlines can be written in a variety of ways, or they can be drawn as flow charts. Likewise, knowing which of these methods is right for you, or if you are the type that works best without an outline, is important information.
How do you know if you work best without an outline? I'm not capable of answering that question for you, but if your writing flows free in a way that you like, then don't let anything I say stop you from continuing on that path. Conversely, for me, I find that outline writing can help to organize my own thoughts, and can produce a stronger written product.