How to create an outline for writing a book

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How to create an outline for writing a book

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?

Easy Novel Outline – Free Writing Lessons and Worksheets

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.

Story Goal

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? Once you have a basic idea of how your character will be invested in the main story, you can start unearthing the nitty-gritty details of his life with a character interview.

You may choose to follow a preset list of questions you can find a list of more than such questions in my book Outlining Your Novel: Look for settings that will be inherent to your plot. If so, dig a little deeper to find a setting better suited to your plot, theme and characters.

Can you reduce this list by combining or eliminating settings? Nothing wrong with a sprawling story locale, but extraneous settings should be eliminated just as assiduously as unnecessary characters.

Write your complete outline. This is where you will begin plotting in earnest. In Step 2, you solidified the big picture of your story by identifying the scenes you were already aware of and figuring out how they might fit together.Writing it down: I’ve received a lot of mail over the years that amounts to “OK, but how do I do it?” This page, adapted from the first chapter of Advanced Language Construction, is an attempt to answer that question, as well as similar questions like “How do I know when I’m done?” and “Is it weird enough?” And don’t miss the section on how to gloss.

Edit Article How to Write a Book. In this Article: Article Summary Sample Book Excerpts Getting Started on Your Book Writing a Novel Writing a Non-Fiction book Keeping Up Your Interest Community Q&A Anyone with a story to tell can write a book, either for their own .

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how to create an outline for writing a book

Get started now! menu (C), select To Do (D).. You can also access assignments from your Calendar (A) and choose to see them by day, week or month (B). To see assignments due on a particular day, simply click the day.

how to create an outline for writing a book

To access all of the assignments within a particular class, click the class name (A). Writing a book is beyond hard. Those of us in the thick of the book writing process know that.

Which means if there’s something that can make the entire process easier, we’d likely hop on it as fast as possible. Luckily, that very method exists and it goes by the intimidating name of outlining.

Admit it. You've thought about writing an e-book. In fact, you've already imagined the front cover. You can see the main title, and underneath, your name. And when you picture it, you feel a ripple of pride.

An e-book would be a big step up for you as a writer. Because while blog posts are a great way to express your ideas, you can't help feeling they're a little, well, fleeting.

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