Find out which literary luminary is your stylistic soulmate. Takes one minute! Like we mentioned earlier, you can build your outline in programs like Plottr, or just pull out a pen to to write it out the old-fashioned way. Either way works from this point on — getting the outline out of your head is what matters at the end of the day! Without groundwork, your scenes and story will collapse in on itself.
Before you can write a good plot, you need a good premise. Here are a few ways to test the solidity of your premise. Developing motifs will help further sharpen the theme of your book. Equally important are the walls of your novel: your characters. To give you a starting line, read about the basics of character development here. Then we recommend you jump into this post on character profiles and download its thorough character sheet.
Create fascinating characters that your readers will love Get started now. Don't fret about nitty-gritty stuff like chapter length yet. Though if you are curious, you can read this post on how long a chapter should be. Instead, think about the big picture. If you need some inspiration, here's one simple way to kickstart your story structure.
On a blank sheet of paper, draw a horizontal line. On one side, mark B for Beginning. Then on the opposite end, mark E for End. Now turn to your central conflict and start visualizing its major turning points on your line. How does the action rise and fall? As the story escalates or de-escalates, tweak the line accordingly. In the end, you might see something like this:. In other words, the start of a narrative arc. You can break any novel down into acts, sequences, and even chapters.
But at its core, a story is made up of one basic kind of unit: scenes. Here are some ways to kickstart your thinking. To get started, brainstorm scenes that will be the centerpieces of your plot, which may include anything from major turning points to the climax of the entire book. Be sure to preserve your narrative arc as you go to give your story purpose and direction. The Snowflake Method encourages you to start thinking about your scenes from a granular point of view — and then build up from there.
To learn more, this post goes in-depth into the benefits of this particular kind of outline. Do you want a mind map to visualize the spatial relationships? Or do you prefer a beat sheet which will zero in on the finer points of your novel? Then pick the variables that you want your story outline to track over the course of your story. Pick and structure your story outline based on what you think is key to your storytelling. To give you some inspiration, we created a few different novel outline templates.
Feel free to download them for your use and alter them however you need! To troubleshoot your novel outline, first step back so that you can view your story through fresh eyes. Then bring out your highlighter — and be ready to be as ruthless as a cranky teacher wielding a red pen. Highlight wherever:. Consider going back and perfecting it to a T.
For instance: Is Katniss going to survive the Hunger Games? Your pacing is uneven throughout the novel outline. What would they do next if this happened? Where would that then take the story? Here's a free course on character development if you'd like to dive into it.
Many bestselling authors depend on story outlines to organize their thoughts and map out their books. To see even more examples of book outlines, check out this post over at Flavorwire. As a parting gift, here are the three book outline templates again. Feel free to change any particular book outline template to match your needs — and if you have any suggestions or updates for them, please do feel free to drop us your thoughts in the comments. We hope that they're useful.
What kind of writer are you? Are you a Gardener or an Architect? If the former, what process do you use when you're outlining? Let us know in the comments. An informative article along with useful story development aids, I heartily thank Reedsy for their efforts to put this together! Whew so much to read on here I'm at the Premise right now and didn't even have to look at the links to finish it.
Trying to fix a mostly written book that has a few hick ups. Reedsy is and I think will be the best thing that has happened to my writing career. Technology will NOT replace recruiters. Chapter content How to draw the brakes on automating a broken system until the underlying problems are fixed What readers need to consider in terms of their process before they go about implementing new technology How to develop the kind of skills that technology will never be able to replace 4.
Key takeaway Technology is only a tool. Callback to hook Despite all the discourse and panic, there will be great new opportunities for readers who make themselves invaluable and invincible 6. The fact is, it does NOT work. We developed our style of outlining after testing dozens of different iterations and realizing what actually produced the best books in the shortest time. For most authors, they have problems actually understanding ahead of time precisely how to lay their books out.
We find that the traditional outline structure gets people lost in the outline, and that the best way to actually get people to writing is to chunk up the chapter into sections. Then have authors write down enough so they understand what they are trying to say and what they need to write, and then figure out the details as they write. The conventional way of outlining forces the author to get very deep into their knowledge at a stage where some of the ideas may not be worked out yet.
Most people do not do well with a long detailed outline, but do better by writing their way to understanding. This process allows for either approach—you can go detailed if you really want, or you can just get the bullets down that you need, and then figure the rest out as you write. If you already use and love Scrivener , then great, keep using it. But in our experience, for most first time authors, it is a huge waste of time to learn and use. Scrivener is really good for fiction writers. Completed your outline but need help taking the next steps?
Consider joining the Scribe Guided Author Program. Click here for more details. Or, schedule a consult with our one of our Author Strategists. Book Writing. Worse, having no outline often leads to not finishing your book at all. What would be part 1? What would be part 2? How would you break up the days? Basically the structure of the workshop or presentation becomes the chapters of the book.
What are the major lessons? What is step one? Step two? Write it all down. What would they get confused about? What points do they struggle with? What lessons have you conveyed to them? What did they find particularly helpful? What questions do they ask you? Step 2: Create a Table of Contents Once you have what you think are your chapters, then put it in your Table of Contents. That is completely backwards. In this day and age, anyone in sales is a marketer.
And that's why they fail. Do not be intimidated by this—all you really need to do here is tell a good short story or anecdote or introduce a fact that is engaging. It might not even be longer than a great tweet. The best chapter hooks tend to be emotionally intense, or some sort of mistake which is usually emotionally intense. I talk more about hooks in the post on Introductions. This should be the same as the key takeaway in the Table of Contents.
This is the bulk of the section. You can do this quickly and succinctly, but the outline of the chapter should be laid out fairly well. You are creating an outline, after all. Make sure you look at this section from the vantage point of your reader, rather than your own. Your reader is not the expert, you are, so this section needs to be tailored to them. Effective stories are crucial to the success of a book.
They are a great way to make the book and its specific takeaway points more memorable. Many readers forget facts after they read a book, but anecdotes and stories stay with them. You are not looking for a generic story in these points; rather, this should be a story that fits precisely here and demonstrates the message you want to convey.
Of course you will integrate stories and supporting content. Listing these separately allows you to figure this out as you go. This gets you writing faster, which is the optimal way to outline. It clearly lays out what the reader needs to know from this chapter.