Key Points from James Patterson on Outlining

Here's a quote from James Patterson on outlining: "I’m a fanatic about outlining. It’s gonna make whatever you’re writing better, you’ll have fewer false starts, and you’ll take a shorter amount of time. I write them over and over again. You read my outline and it’s like reading a book; you really get the story, even though it’s condensed. Each chapter will have about a paragraph devoted to it. But you’re gonna get the scene, and you’re gonna get the sense of what makes the scene work."

It's fairly clear that James Patterson's approach to outlining is the polar opposite of Steven Pressfield's foolscap method. [K.M. Weiland's flexible outline approach more closely approximates James Patterson's and so I will address that topic later in the course.]

Key Points from James Patterson on Outlining.pdf

Okay, are you ready for a massive outline? Is that the direction you want to go? Why not?

If you take Steven Pressfield's advice, it's better to start with a scaled-down [very scaled down] outline and then dive into a James Patterson mega-outline.

I'd love to see at least a portion of what you generate. I do like Patterson's emphasis on generating lots of scenes. It helps me visualize the action before I even start Draft #1.

Please share! Go!


“What seems ordinary to you may be extraordinary to others.” – Kareem Taylor of Headnod Music on the reason you need to stop that inner voice saying, “You’re not special.”

Complete and Continue