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An outline is a plan of events to happen in a work. Unlike a novel idea which dictates the very basics of the plot, the outline tries to partially or fully dictate the events within the plot while falling short of a word-for-word dictation of the novel itself. While the outlines of planners may be very detailed and must be followed, pantsers may opt for an unfixed (doesn't have to be followed), often general outline or none at all.

Outlining techniques

There are as many outlining techniques as there are novelists. A writer who comes up with a plot first will probably outline differently than someone who imagines a character, then that character's story.