Outline? What outline? We don’t need no stinkin’ outline!

Cat covering its face in embarrassment
‘Don’t judge me! Don’t judge meeeee!’

I have to admit something today to all of you that I’m kind of embarrassed of: for the last 6 stories I have written about my plucky young detective Portia Adams.. I haven’t actually ‘known’ the solution to those cases when I started writing it. Except for the ‘Unfound’ case.. because it was a bit of an homage to Edgar Allan Poe’s The Purloined Letter (blog post on that homage here), I knew that the missing child would be hidden ‘in plain sight,’ – so I had a solution in mind when I started writing that story.

But it is the anomaly.

The other 5 cases (plus the one I am writing right now) were written with the crime in mind, and no real idea of who did it or how Portia solves the case. Knock on wood, this formula (or lack thereof) seems to be working for me.

All over the web I read blog posts about how to write a good outline, thinking out elements of your story before you actually set down and write it. But it doesn’t seem to be how I write.

How about you guys? Do you write an outline for every story you write?