Broken Pieces

Ernest Dempsey – How to Write By the Seat of Your Pants

How to Write By the Seat of Your Pants: Outline or no?

by Ernest Dempsey

No matter what genre you’re in, you want to write a story that keeps the flow going throughout. After all, if it isn’t a page-turner, the reader won’t get to the end. And if they don’t get to the end, you get bad reviews, no reviews, and worse, they don’t buy anything else you write.

You need to know how to write by the seat of your pants so that the reader will be on the edge of theirs.

Some authors are afraid that if they use an outline, they will be hindered from writing the kind of up-tempo story that their readers want. An outline, after all, is a pretty structured thing. To some, it can feel like heavy shackles bound to your creative fingers.

Those authors are the ones who advocate sitting in a dark room with nothing but a candle, a bible, and a bottle of wine. They think that the story will just come to them in the throws of random inspiration.

Sorry, but I don’t like to wait. Call me impatient. But for the rest of us who want to actually get our story done, creating an outline is a necessity.

And the good news is, it will actually help you write by the seat of your pants.

Why People Fear Outlines

Authors don’t usually like creating outlines. Sure, there are some exceptions. But for the most part, writers put off creating an outline for as long as possible.


Because an outline forces a writer to make decisions, to start putting a structure together, and to actually do some work. See, authors are creative people. And creative people don’t like to get in and do the dirty work (with the exception of sculptors).

We are free spirits and just want to create random beautiful things. Outlines are dirty, restrictive, and somewhat precise. Essentially, they have the perception of not being fun.

Why Authors Need Outlines

There is a simple reason as to why you should use an outline when writing a story. The outline is your map. How can you get to where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re headed?

And wouldn’t you be able to get there faster if you had a map?

With a well-constructed outline, you know exactly what each scene is supposed to look like. Guidance like that can free up your creative juices to unleash whatever they want onto the page.

Rather than hindering, the outline frees you to create a much better, cohesive content. It will also be content that the reader won’t want to put down.

The Story Map

My solution is simple. Since my brain doesn’t like creating outlines, I don’t call them that at all. I call it a story map.

The story map is a simple piece of paper with seven to ten scenes written out on it. I start with the beginning scene and the end. Now that I know where the story starts and where it finishes, I can fill in the blanks with all the scenes that get it to where it needs to go.

This method had enabled me to create books at a much faster pace, and stories that are hard for the readers to put down, which should be every author’s goal.

With all that being said, you should do what makes you feel happiest when it comes to writing. If creating outlines makes you miserable, maybe you shouldn’t use them. After all, writing isn’t just about production or reviews or selling books. It is about doing something you love and that you want to share with the world.


When you wake up, does it seem like your dreams were real? Maybe they were.

Imagine if Stephanie Meyer and Suzanne Collins sat down together to write an up-tempo, action packed sci-fi thriller featuring terrifying nightmares, an evil emperor, a beautiful princess, and gladtiator games on another planet.

That’s The Dream Rider, the newest release from Ernest Dempsey, the author who brought you The Secret of the Stones and The Cleric’s Vault.

Falling from buildings, being attacked by terrifying strangers, and ghostly hands that strangle in the night are just some of the fears The Dream Rider must overcome.

Finn McClaren is an average college student, mediocre in every possible way, until one day, when strange men try to kill him. Finn wakes up in his dorm room to realize the whole thing was just a dream. Or was it?

The nightmares continue, forcing Finn to face his deepest fears until one night, he stops running and fights back. When he awakens, he is no longer in his dorm room, but on a strange planet on the other side of the galaxy.

After being arrested, Finn is thrust into an underground prison where the inmates are forced to fight to the death in the arena games. While there, he learns he has incredible powers, and of the true reason he has come to the alien world.

The Dream Rider is a fun, fast-paced, science fiction adventure that also asks serious questions about our fears, self-esteem, beliefs, and facing challenges in life.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre –  Science Fiction

Rating – PG13

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