Walter Dean Myers uses an outline to keep the storyline’s focus.

An Outline Insight curated by WriteMapper

For Authors Interview Resource
To avoid these internal monologues, I work from a carefully constructed outline to make sure that some physical things are happening.

WALTER DEAN MYERS was an author of over a hundred children’s books, and is best known for his work in the young adult genre. His first published book, Where Does the Day Go?, won a Council on Interracial Books for Children Award soon after it was released in 1968.

In this short interview with NPR, he shares snippets of how he writes his stories. An experienced writer with dozens of published titles under his belt, he focuses on refining his writing process to address weaknesses he has come to be aware of over time.

Myers has won multiple awards in recognition of his significant and lasting contributions to American young adult literature. His book, Monster, about a 16-year-old standing trial for murder, won inaugural Michael L. Printz Award for examplifying literary excellence.

The Main Takeaway

Beginner and experienced authors alike can learn from Myers’ sharing of his thought process in writing, which touches on aspects of it from his routine to how he gets a second opinion on his work. By writing methodically and consistently, he has been able to produce many titles of quality over time, as proved by the number of awards he has won.

Obstacles and Difficulties

Myers pays special attention to areas of writing that he has come to find that he’s weak in: one such example is his tendency to let characters in his stories hold internal conversations for too many pages.

Another area of writing he self-recognises that he’s not the best at as an author is a lack of detail when portraying scenes and characters in a story.

Knowing what some issues he might face in his work ahead of time allows him to adjust his working method in order to address these problems.

Using an Outline

To overcome how Myers tends to let his written characters’ rumination get out of hand, carrying on for an extended number of pages, he uses a carefully constructed outline to ensure that necessary accompanying elements in his story are being told at the same time.

This, in combination with adjustments to his routine and a restriction on the number of pages of work he produces each day, allow for him to focus on the detail which his regular work often lacks.

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