The Importance of Outlines: Unlocking the Key to Writing a Compelling Story – Cody Smart

As an avid writer, I can’t stress enough the significance of outlines in the process of crafting a compelling story. In my experience, outlines serve as the key that unlocks the potential of a narrative, helping to organize thoughts, structure ideas, and maintain a cohesive flow throughout the writing journey. Join me, Cody Smart, as I delve into the immense importance of outlines and how they can elevate your storytelling skills to new heights. Let’s embark on this writing adventure together!

The Importance of Outlines: Unlocking the Key to Writing a Compelling Story – Cody Smart


Hey there! I’m Cody Smart, an independent writer and script doctor from Chile. As a passionate storyteller, I believe in the sheer power of a well-crafted outline. In this article, I want to emphasize the importance of outlining and how it can be the key to writing a compelling story. So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s dive into the world of outlining!

I Believe in the Importance of Outlining for Creating a Cohesive and Compelling Story

As an experienced writer and script doctor, I firmly believe in the importance of outlining when it comes to crafting a cohesive and compelling story. Here’s why:

  1. Outlining Saves Time and Helps in Understanding the Emotional Arc and Structure of the Character’s Journey
    When you set out to write a story without an outline, you might find yourself lost in a sea of ideas and possibilities. However, by creating a solid outline, you can save yourself from this confusion and get a clear roadmap to follow. An outline helps you understand the emotional arc and structure of your character’s journey, enabling you to develop a richer and more engaging story.

  2. Mapping out the Plot and Key Turning Points Helps Identify and Resolve Plot Holes
    By mapping out the plot and key turning points in your outline, you can identify potential plot holes early on. This allows you to address these issues before you dive deeper into writing the actual story. An outline acts as a safety net, preventing you from getting stuck in a storytelling trap and ensuring that your narrative flow is seamless.

About Me

Before we go any further, let me introduce myself properly. I hold degrees in English Literature & Linguistics, Screenwriting, Development, and Producing. I have worked as a script analyst for Sony and have even written award-winning shorts. Currently, I am the head of the coverage department at a script hosting site, where I offer valuable tips for screenwriters in a bi-monthly vlog. Helping writers take their work to the next level is something that brings me immense satisfaction.

The Art of Crafting an Outline

Crafting an outline is an art in itself. Let’s take a closer look at my process:

  1. Start with a Brainstorming Session
    Before diving into the actual outline, I recommend starting with a brainstorming session. This helps you gather all your ideas and inspirations in one place. You can write down characters, themes, key plot points, and anything else that comes to mind. This session allows you to let your creativity flow freely, without worrying about structure or organization.

  2. Develop a Structure for Your Outline
    Once you have your brainstorming session completed, it’s time to develop a structure for your outline. You can use bullet points or create subheadings for each major plot point. This structure serves as the backbone of your story, providing you with a clear path to follow.

  3. Connect the Dots and Add Detail
    Now it’s time to connect the dots and fill in the details. Take each plot point or subheading and expand on it. The more detail you add, the better understanding you’ll have of each scene and character’s purpose in the overall story.

  4. Adapt and Refine Your Outline
    Outlines are not set in stone. As you progress with your writing, you might find the need to adapt and refine your outline. Don’t be afraid to make changes if you feel that it will benefit the story. Remember, outlines are tools that serve you, not the other way around.


In conclusion, outlining is an essential step in the writing process. It saves time, helps in understanding emotional arcs, and allows for the identification and resolution of plot holes. As a writer, I believe in the power of a well-crafted outline and its ability to unlock the key to writing a compelling story. So, next time you embark on a writing journey, remember the importance of outlining. It might just be the game-changer you’ve been looking for!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Q: How can outlining save time in the writing process?

    • A: Outlining provides a roadmap and structure, making the writing process more efficient and preventing wasted time on unnecessary tangents.
  2. Q: Can an outline help improve the emotional arcs of characters?

    • A: Absolutely! By outlining, you can map out the character’s journey and ensure their emotional development is consistent and impactful.
  3. Q: Does outlining help identify and resolve plot holes?

    • A: Yes, outlining helps to identify potential plot holes early on, allowing writers to address them before they become significant issues in the story.
  4. Q: What qualifications and experience do you have as a writer and script doctor?

    • A: I hold degrees in English Literature & Linguistics, Screenwriting, Development, and Producing. I have worked as a script analyst for Sony and have written award-winning shorts.
  5. Q: How can I take my writing to the next level?

    • A: As an SEO writer and English fluency expert, I can help writers polish their work and provide guidance on improving their storytelling techniques.

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