Lightning Wolves and Outlines

I’m settling in to write the last few chapters of my wild west steampunk adventure Lightning Wolves over the next few weeks. Today, I took a walk down by the Rio Grande to get myself in the old west frame of mind.


The debate between working from an outline or writing by the seat of one’s pants is an old one. I tend to prefer working from an outline because I have a day job that takes me out of town to an observatory every other week. I’m never quite sure when I can squeeze in a few minutes here or there to get some writing in.

That said, I’m not slavishly devoted to my outlines. I review them periodically as I’m working and adjust them if I see that the plot is going in a slightly different direction than I thought it was going to. That happened this past week with Lightning Wolves.

In fact, the plot had not deviated very far from the outline, but the characters were in somewhat different emotional places than I imagined they would be. The decisions they would make at this point were not the ones I imagined when I originally outlined the book, so I changed course and reworked the outline of the novel’s ending. This actually proved to be a good thing since there were a few things I’d originally written in the outline I wasn’t sure how I would resolve. Now, I have a resolution that works for me.

Owl Dance Cover

Will I continue to follow the updated outline through the rest of the novel? I’m getting close enough to the end that it’s likely, but I will allow myself room to change and room for my characters to grow.

Lightning Wolves picks up where my novel Owl Dance leaves off. If you want to learn about the first novel visit


4 comments on “Lightning Wolves and Outlines

  1. paigeaddams says:

    Lol, I can totally relate on the outline vs. seat of the pants issue. 🙂 Any outlines I use are usually pretty rough, and I think I almost always deviate from them at some point and just end up running amok. 😀

    • In fact, my early outlines used to amount to one sentence per chapter. They’re a little more detailed now. I typically do four to five sentences per chapter. 🙂

      Anyway, yes, I go into them knowing I’ll discover things about my characters and the situations that will force a change to happen at some point or another.

  2. nrlymrtl says:

    Looking forward to Lightning Wolves as I enjoyed Owl Dance quite a bit. And I love steampunk in the wild west.

    • Thanks. I’ve been having a lot of fun with the sequel. The only problem is that life keeps trying to encroach this week. So far, I’ve been able to manage things, stay focused, and keep writing. Here’s hoping it will continue. 🙂

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