How to create an outline for writing a book

No less an authority than Stephen King writes in his book "On Writing" that his creative process is organic. But many writing instructors recommend crafting an outline as an important first step to keep an author focused and on track. Objectives of Outlining The outline is there to serve as a road map for writing. It is not meant to stifle the narrative flow but to keep the writer on track.

How to create an outline for writing a book

The secret is to incorporate the 8 Basic Plot Elements. Starting with your story idea, you only need to make eight choices to ensure the plot of your future novel hangs together in a meaningful way. As you read through the rest of this page, jot down ideas for how each element might work in your story.

Create a plot outline for your novel in the way suggested below. You may find you can strengthen your novel plot considerably by incorporating any plot element you neglected before. Story Goal The first element to include in your plot outline is the Story Goal, which we covered in detail in the previous article, The Key to a Solid Plot: Choosing a Story Goal.

To summarize, the plot of any story is a sequence of events that revolve around an attempt to solve a problem or attain a goal. There are many ways we could involve other characters in this goal. For instance, we could give our protagonist It could be losing good employees to other companies that do.

In other words, after we have chosen a Story Goal, we will build a world around our protagonist that includes many perspectives on the problem and makes the goal important to everyone in that world.

Make a list of potential goals that fits the idea you are working on.

how to create an outline for writing a book

Then choose choose one goal to base your plot outline on. The Consequence is the negative situation or event that will result if the Goal is not achieved. Avoiding the Consequence justifies the effort required in pursuing the Story Goal, both to the characters in your novel and the reader, and that makes it an important part of your plot outline.

The combination of goal and consequence creates the main dramatic tension in your plot. In some stories, the protagonist may begin by deciding to resolve a problem or pursue a goal.

Later, that goal becomes more meaningful when he discovers that a terrible consequence will occur if he fails.

Create A Plot Outline In 8 Easy Steps

As Melanie Anne Phillips points out, in some stories the consequence seems to be in effect when the story opens. Perhaps the evil despot is already on the throne and the Story Goal is to depose him.

In that case, the consequence, if the protagonist fails, is that things will stay the way they are. We could make the Consequence worse perhaps the aunt dies of starvation because she is feeble and has no immediate family looking after her.

7 Steps to Creating a Flexible Outline for Any Story | alphabetnyc.com

Or we could create a different Consequence. Her employer may go bankrupt unless it becomes more family-friendly. Write a list of possible Consequences you could have in your plot outline.

Then choose one to be the counterpoint to your chosen Story Goal.To imbue your writing with the full power of outlining, you need to approach the process from a mindset of flexibility and discovery. When you do this, you’ll end up with a road map to storytelling success.

The first element to include in your plot outline is the Story Goal, which we covered in detail in the previous article, The Key to a Solid Plot: Choosing a Story Goal.

To summarize, the plot of any story is a sequence of events that revolve around an attempt to solve a problem or attain a goal. Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing [Libbie Hawker] on alphabetnyc.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. When it comes to writing books, are you a plotter or a pantser?

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Is one method really better than the other? In this instructional book. 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 .

how to create an outline for writing a book

Just as every tree is different but still recognizably a tree, every story is different but contains elements that make it a story. By defining those before you begin you clarify the scope of your work, identify your themes, and create the story you meant to write.

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Yes, You Have To: 6 Legitimate Reasons to Create a Book Outline