Okay, I've tried it both ways. I wrote thirty-thousand words into a novel that had an extremely detailed outline prior to the actual writing. The outline was helpful, as far as direction, but felt a bit constraining. I eventually got bored with the story and shelved it for another day. Recently, I completed my first draft of a novella without any type of outline at all (just some random notes in a notepad). This was also about thirty-thousand words, more or less. The problem I have now, is that the draft must be completely mutilated and restructured. And I'm afraid so much has to be cut that it will be nothing more than a short story by the time I'm done with it (which I won't mind if it's really good). My first draft is seemingly a glorified outline that doesn't really stand on its own. What are everyone's thoughts on outlining? I can't seem to win.