I say 'think you know' because the transition from what you think are startlingly clear thoughts to black and white on paper can be very difficult. I've had great ideas that I thought would make great stories, but when I start actually sketching it out in the real world—on paper or on computer—rather that in my head, I find things change considerably.
One phrase I always say is "Details drive the story." This is why, even with an outline, a story takes on a life of its own. No matter how detailed you outline, you can't think of everything. As you actually write the story, details will start popping up that will cause you to make changes. Most of the time these are details of reality.
For example, in your thriller you have a scene where your protagonist is searching out a series of tunnels, looking for the bad guys. The way you wrote your outline, the bad guy isn't in the tunnel and your secondary main character is sitting in her car on the surface and she sees the bad guy escape. So she calls the protagonist on the radio and he rushes to the surface for your climactic scene hanging off the skid of the helicopter, right? Wrong. You can't use radio to get hold of someone underground. Or cell phones. This is a detail you might not have thought of when doing your outline but as you write it you realize it. So you change, you adjust.
Just as details can limit you, they can also give you more opportunities. This goes back to research being an ongoing process, which I mentioned earlier.
If you have been following the flow of these chapters, they represent the way you might want to consider approaching your manuscript. You've done a lot of legwork that you can put together to begin your outline at this point.
Was this article helpful?