Film Courage: Why do so many writers say that outlining prevents them from being creative?
Naomi Beaty, Writer, Screenwriting Teacher and Consultant: I think a lot of writers feel like if they outline in too detailed of a manner it will force them into a corner when they’re writing. They’ll have it too planned out, it’ll take the creativity out of it, it’ll take that spontaneity out of their creative process or something like that. That’s my best guess why some writers think that that outlining is stifling. I actually think the process of outlining your story, breaking your story and forming the outline, can be the creative process, that sort of creative process that you look for when you’re writing of discovery and coming up with new ideas by kind of juxtaposing things that you didn’t expect or whatever. You can do that in the outlining process itself and have all of those sparks of inspiration and creativity while you’re working in that format instead of on the page if that makes sense?
Film Courage: Do you get a lot of pushback from writers who don’t want to outline?
Naomi: Not a ton. I think it’s probably 50/50 in terms of writers who like to outline or at least have learned that it’s more helpful than painful for them. There are plenty of writers who embrace outlining as part of their process. Then there are also writers who either feel like it’s too stifling or don’t really have a good process and so they stay away from outlining or avoid it just because they don’t really have a set of steps that they can go through that reliably helps them plan out their story. Some writers consider themselves very intuitive writers and they’re pantsers instead of plotters. I don’t think that even those writers that consider themselves intuitive writers, I don’t think that I get a lot of pushback from them usually…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Naomi Beaty is a writer, screenwriting teacher, consultant and owner of WRITE+CO., along with the author of LOGLINE SHORTCUTS: Unlock Your Story And Pitch Your Screenplay In One Simple Sentence and THE SCREENPLAY OUTLINE WORKBOOK: A step-by-step guide to brainstorm ideas, structure your story, and prepare to write your best screenplay.
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