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How to Outline Your Novel

  |   Guide for Writers   |   No comment

Outlining a novel is different from outlining any other document. If you try to completely outline a novel from the opening scene to the closing scene, you will most likely discover that you constantly change your mind during the process of writing.
 

Changing your mind during the writing process is great! New ideas for plot points, character development, and twists are constantly opening up the further along you get into your story, which is exactly why a traditional outline is not ideal.
 

A traditional outline looks like this:
 

I. Chapter One

A. scene one

1. details
2. details
3. details

B. scene two

1. details
2. details
3. details

C. scene three

1. details
2. details
3. details

II. Chapter Two

A. scene four

1. details
2. details
3. details

B. scene five

1. details
2. details
3. details

C. scene six

1. details
2. details
3. details

 

Writing a novel does not have to be so structured like the outline above. Instead of spending a lot of time writing a clear-cut outline, try outlining your book like this:
 

I. Plot – a few sentences about the overall plot of the entire book.

A. Major scene to drive plot forward
B. Major scene to drive plot forward
C. Major scene to drive plot forward

 

II. Characters – who are the main characters?

A. Character one development.
B. Character two development.
C. How do the characters interact?

 

III. Turning points – what are the key moments?

A. The conflict in the story
B. The climax of the story
C. The final resolution of the story

 

Creating a short outline that contains just the main elements will allow you to let the story flow and change as you progress forward in writing it. As you write one scene, you will find there are several directions you could take to drive the plot forward. Allow your creativity to flow and see where your story takes you!

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