Learn the easy way to write a novel outline so you can work smarter and faster with fewer mistakes.
Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! Writers either love outlines, or they hate them. My experience has been that more often than not, those who swear they dislike outlines are thinking of them in the wrong ways.
Outlines are not meant to trap you into preset ideas or sap your creativity before you start the first draft. Outlines are also definitely not meant to be lifeless Roman-numeral lists. This guest post is by K. She makes her home in western Nebraska. To imbue your writing with the full power of outlining, you need to approach the process from a mindset of flexibility and discovery.
At their best, outlines can help you flesh out your most promising story ideas, avoid dead-end plot twists and pursue proper structure.
And the greatest part? They save you time and prevent frustration.
Sketching out your plot and characters in your first draft can take months of trial and error. Figuring out those same elements in an outline requires a fraction of the time—and then allows you to let loose and have fun in your first draft.
Although this outlining method is one I use myself and highly recommend, keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to outline a story. The only requirement is that you find the groove that works for you.
Your premise is the basic idea for your story. This is why your outline needs to begin with a tightly crafted premise sentence that can answer the following questions: How will that condition be changed, for better or worse, by the hero himself or by the antagonistic force?
At the beginning, what does the hero want? What moral or immoral choices will she have to make in her attempt to gain that objective? Who or what stands in the way of the hero achieving his objective?
What misfortune will befall the hero as the result of her attempts to achieve her objective? And what is the logical flow of cause and effect that will allow this conflict to continue throughout the story? Restless farm boy situation Luke Skywalker protagonist wants nothing more than to leave home and become a starfighter pilot, so he can live up to his mysterious father objective.
Roughly sketch scene ideas. Armed with a solid premise, you can now begin sketching your ideas for this story. Write a list of everything you already know about your story. Even if you have no idea how these scenes will play out in the story, go ahead and add them to the list.
Whenever you encounter an idea that raises questions, highlight it. Your next step is to address each of the highlighted portions, one by one. Write out your ideas and let your thoughts flow without censoring yourself.
Ask yourself questions on the page. Talk to yourself without worrying about punctuation or spelling. Did something in his past cause the disaster? What events have shaped him to make him respond to the disaster in the way he does?Jun 30, · The first thing you need to understand is that the outline itself is part of the novel writing process.
It isn’t a series of scribbled notes to help you remember things, and it isn’t something you can do in an hour or even a benjaminpohle.coms: How to Write a Nonfiction Book Outline () Here is the exact process to create a book outline from A to Z for nonfiction in Yes, I know you hate outlining.
I’ll fix that. The way I get information for some of the blog posts I write, is by answering questions that are posted in online writing forums, in groups, and on social media. How to Outline a Novel in 6 Ways. While you can incorporate the book outlining tips we shared in the non-fiction section above, creating an outline for your novel will be inherently different from creating a non-fiction outline.
Your novel outline will require character development, the evolution of plot points, and resolution of conflict. How To Create A Plot Outline In 8 Easy Steps* By Glen C. Strathy Create a plot outline for your novel in the way suggested below.
You may find you can strengthen your novel plot considerably by incorporating any plot element you neglected before. I have a hard time understanding the rules of NA and YA genres.
For example, I’m writing. If you’re an Outliner, go to his site and check out his Snowflake Method of outlining your novel, and also invest in his Writing Fiction for Dummies. But You Said I know!
I was going to tell you how to outline your novel even if you’re not an outliner. If you’re not an outliner, you need to stay at least yards from Randy Ingermanson. A novel outline is a plan for a novel.
If you are doing this for yourself and not for an editor, then the good news is there are no rights or wrongs.
You can type up your outline with Roman numerals, or you can paint it on the carpet in lipstick if that works for you.