One of the benefits to outlining is that you will have something to reference to when you have writer’s block or don’t know how to end a scene. When you know where you’re going it’s a lot easier to get there.
So here’s how I outline a novel. I’ve written two novels and all have been created with the same outline procedure.
Step 1: Know Your Story
-You can’t plan what you don’t know so take a while to figure out what exactly happens in your story.
Step 2: Bullet point your major parts
My last novel had four parts broken off by character point of view between the hero and the heroine.
- Each part had its own agenda to move the story forward, so me knowing what happened in each part helped a lot.
- If you don’t use POV switch you can outline your parts with events, time frames, or just plain beginning, middle and end.
Step 3: Break your parts into chapters
- Fill your parts with chapter headings that will guide you to completing each part
- So know what you need to do for each chapter
- Those chapters will cover every thing that needs to happen in that particular part of the story
Step 4: Break your chapters down to scenes
- This is just to help you get each chapter done. You don’t have to break it down to scenes if you prefer not to.
- Some novel chapters just have one scene, not multiple. My first book each had one scene per chapter but my second book has two or three scene per chapter so how you want to write your book
Note: It’s your outline so you can change its format later on if you have to. I change my all the time because I might want a certain scene not to happen at all or I would want it to happen earlier or later in the story. Your outline is your GUIDE, not a rule book so use it to just to keep it focused.
Here’s a way to picture your outline
Part 1: Hero meets Heroine
Chapter 1: Introduce hero
Scene: hero wakes up in the bathroom drunk and ends up late for school
Scene: Runs into heroine
Part 2: Heroine realizes she has a crush on the Hero
Chapter 2: Hero and Heroine go out on a date
Scene: Heroine stops hero after class to ask him out
Scene: They go to the lake and eat sea food
This is just an example of how you would outline your novel. You’ll be able to get a clear understanding of your goal for each section, each chapter and each scene so you know what you’re writing before you sit down to write.
If you don’t like where the story is going you can simply erase your outline and write a new one. It’s up to you! So use this outline guide as a tool to get writing!
Hope this helps.
Have you created an outline before? What are your tips? Share them in the comments so we all can learn new ways to write.
Photo credit: Jaimie Duplass