Outlining Your Story – Paper vs Computer

Outlining is an important part of the writing process. You can clearly get an idea about how your story will go, and you can always fill in the blanks and expand. There are many methods to outline, and everyone has their preference. But the most basic question could be about which media you use.

Some people like to use their computers to outline. It’s versatile, there are many applications available to use, and you can even diagram the outline. Others like to use paper. It’s easy to jot things down, easy to access, and you can work on it anywhere you are. Which do you prefer? Paper or computer? If you use computer, which applications do you use?

I tend to use paper. I keep a notebook and write all my notes in it. I’ve outlined an entire book with one, though it’s not highly detailed. I outline what happens in general first, then expand it and sort it into chapters. After that, I do a chapter-by-chapter outline. It’s one of the more basic outlining styles where you keep expanding what you have.  But I think the reason I use a notebook is because it’s far more portable than my computer. I’ve done a lot of outlining at work during my lunch break.

How about you? Let me know in the comments below.

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15 thoughts on “Outlining Your Story – Paper vs Computer”

  1. I’m with LionAround! Usually when I’m really on a roll the computer is preferred because my handwriting deteriorates when the thoughts come too quickly. Paper is best for when I’m casting around multiple possibilities. Which programs on the computer? I use a combination, of course. I start with Word, kind of the equivalent of crumpling up and wadding paper is easier there for me. Then when things settle, I migrate copy/paste into a program I’ve used for about a year “Write It Now4” and like the ability to see a storyboard and jump around chapters and scenes easily. Then I Excel spreadsheets to review timelines. Cheers!

  2. Yep, paper works for me too. I carry a note book in my bag and often jot things down during the day. But once I get home the sooner I can get my thoughts onto the computer, the better.

    1. Mine stay in the notebook, though when I do anything on the computer, it tends to be more polished writing. Though I have been known to keep notes in a text file on my desktop.

  3. For me, it’s electronic all the way. I have templates set up on my smartphone so when an idea comes along, I can start jotting down notes. From there it is onto the computer and into yWriter where I plot out the story before writing.

    I love working in a digital world. Too bad, I live in a town that makes paper.

    1. I sometimes take notes on my iPhone. I actually do that a lot for blog post ideas. One of my blogs is done entirely with the WordPress app. But that’s an iPhone photography blog.

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