7 Steps to Creating a Flexible Outline for Any Story | Writer's Digest

 

how to write an outline for a novel

Apr 16,  · For more ideas and creatives ways to jump-start your novel outline, check out How to Write a Novel Outline. Here’s the takeaway: No matter which option you choose, ultimately, you’ll write faster and better with a book outline. If one way doesn’t work well for . Easy novel outline techniques to plan your book step by step. How to write a novel from start to finish. Turn ideas for novels into finished books. Free worksheets for planning characters and scenes. Jun 05,  · Are you sick of crashing and burning every time you try and start a novel? We have the answer for you right here: a story outline. In this post, we show you (step-by-step) how to outline a book and give you a book outline template for your own reference.


8 Ways to Outline a Novel | LitReactor


Writing a novel is easy. Writing a good novel is hard. Frankly, there are a thousand different people out there who can tell you how to write a novel. There are a thousand different methods. The best one for you is the one that works for you. I teach the craft of writing fiction at writing conferences all the time. This page is the most popular one on my web site, and gets over a thousand page views per day. Over the years, this page has been viewed more than six million times.

So you can guess that a lot of people find it useful. Look it over, decide what might work for you, and ignore the rest! Different writers are different. Have fun and. You can do the design work before or after you write your novel. This article will give you a powerful metaphor to guide your design. For a number of years, I was a software architect designing large software projects, how to write an outline for a novel.

Before you go further, take a look at this cool web site. Not here, anyway. But part of the work is just managing your creativity — getting it organized into a well-structured novel. You may do some research. You brainstorm. You start hearing the voices of different characters.

But before you start writing, you need to get organized. You need to put all those wonderful ideas down on paper in a form you can use. Because your memory is fallible, and your creativity has probably left a lot of holes in your story — holes you need to fill in before you start writing your novel.

You need a design document. Here is my ten-step process for writing a design document. I use this process for writing my novels, and I hope it will help you. Step 1 Take an hour and write a one-sentence summary of your novel. The sentence will serve you forever as a ten-second selling tool.

This is the big picture, the analog of that big starting triangle in the snowflake picture. When you later write your book proposal, this sentence should appear very early in the proposal. So make the best one you can! Step 2 Take another hour and expand that sentence to a full paragraph describing the story setup, major disasters, and ending of the novel.

This is the analog of the second stage of the snowflake. Each of the disasters takes a quarter of the book to develop and the ending takes the final quarter. If you believe in the Three-Act structure, then the first disaster corresponds to the end of Act 1. The second disaster is the mid-point of Act 2. The third disaster how to write an outline for a novel the end of Act 2, and forces Act 3 which wraps things up. Things just get worse and worse. You can also use this paragraph in your proposal.

Ideally, your paragraph will have about five sentences. One sentence to give me the backdrop and story setup. Then one sentence each for your three disasters.

Then one more sentence to tell the ending. This paragraph summarizes the whole story. Your back-cover copy should summarize only about the first quarter of the story. Step 3 The above gives you a high-level view of your novel.

Now you need something similar for the storylines of each of your characters. Characters are the most important part of any novel, and the time you invest in designing them up front will pay off ten-fold when you start writing. For each of your major characters, take an hour and write a one-page summary sheet that tells:. Go ahead! This is good—it means your characters are teaching you things about your story.

The purpose of each step in the design process is to advance you to the next step. Keep your forward momentum! You can always come back later and fix it when you understand the story better. Step 4 By this stage, you should have a good idea of the large-scale structure of your novel, and you have only spent a day or two.

If the story is broken, you know it now, rather than after investing hours in a rambling first draft. So now just keep growing the story.

Take several hours and expand each sentence of your summary paragraph into a full paragraph. All but the last paragraph should end in a disaster. The final paragraph should tell how the book ends. This is a lot of fun, and at the how to write an outline for a novel of the exercise, you have a pretty decent one-page skeleton of your novel.

What matters is that you are growing the ideas that will go into your story. You are expanding the conflict. You should now have a synopsis suitable for a proposal, although there is a better alternative for proposals. Step 5 Take a day or two and write up a one-page description of each major character and a half-page description of the other important characters. As always, feel free to cycle back to the earlier steps and make revisions as you learn cool stuff about your characters.

Editors love character synopses, because editors love character-based fiction. Step 6 By now, you have a solid story and several story-threads, one for each character. Now take a week and expand the one-page plot synopsis of the novel to a four-page synopsis.

Basically, you will again be expanding each paragraph from step 4 into a full page. This is a lot of fun, how to write an outline for a novel, because you are figuring out the high-level logic of the story and making strategic decisions. Here, you will definitely want to cycle back and fix things in the earlier steps as you gain insight into the story and new ideas whack you in the face. Step 7 Take another week and expand your character descriptions into full-fledged character charts detailing everything there is to know about each character, how to write an outline for a novel.

The standard stuff such as birthdate, description, history, motivation, goal, etc. Most importantly, how will this character change by the end of the novel? This is an expansion of your work in step 3and it will teach you a lot about your characters. This is good — great fiction is character-driven. When you have finished this process, and it may take a full month of solid effort to get hereyou have most of what you need to write a proposal.

If you are a published novelist, then you can write a proposal now and sell your novel before you write it. Step 8 You may or may not take a hiatus here, how to write an outline for a novel, waiting for the book to sell. Before you do that, there are a couple of things you can do to make that traumatic first draft easier. And the easiest way to make that list is. For some reason, this is scary to a lot of writers. Oh the horror. Deal with it. You learned to use a word-processor.

Spreadsheets are easier. You need how to write an outline for a novel make a list of scenes, and spreadsheets were invented for making lists. If you need some tutoring, buy a book. There are a thousand out there, and one of them will work for you. It should take you less than a day to learn the itty bit you need, how to write an outline for a novel. Do it.

Make a spreadsheet detailing the scenes that emerge from your four-page plot outline. Make just one line for each scene. In one column, list the POV character. In another wide column, tell what happens. If you want to get fancy, add more columns that tell you how many pages you expect to write for the scene. My spreadsheets usually wind up being over lines long, one line for each scene of the novel.

 

4 Ways to Outline a Novel - wikiHow

 

how to write an outline for a novel

 

Jun 05,  · Are you sick of crashing and burning every time you try and start a novel? We have the answer for you right here: a story outline. In this post, we show you (step-by-step) how to outline a book and give you a book outline template for your own reference. Apr 16,  · For more ideas and creatives ways to jump-start your novel outline, check out How to Write a Novel Outline. Here’s the takeaway: No matter which option you choose, ultimately, you’ll write faster and better with a book outline. If one way doesn’t work well for . Easy novel outline techniques to plan your book step by step. How to write a novel from start to finish. Turn ideas for novels into finished books. Free worksheets for planning characters and scenes.