Planning and structure

How important is having a structure to write to?

“Experienced writers like to have a strong sense of the structure of their books before they start writing. Some plan a more elaborate structure after doing some writing. I think structure is vital to most writers because they want to envisage the work as a whole with every item having a legitimate and subordinate place. Their outline is detailed enough to be able to see the work as a whole. But their experience tells them that they will probably have to change that outline at some point later.”

“It’s a matter of getting students to establish a framework in which they are operating and for them to recognise that, having sketched an area, they have to work concentratedly within a specific framework so the emphasis then is on detail. The overall framing of the project is ambitious and adventurous, but at the other side it has to be extremely detailed and particular. It’s not really floating and is actually rather restrained.”

“It’s sufficiently well-planned so that I can make the best possible job of the writing knowing that the questions of structure have been taken care of. To use a driving analogy, I don’t want to be looking at the map when I’m actually driving.”

“One student seemed to lay down one research fact after another after another.”