How to write a book outline fiction

When that idea prompts another idea, draw a line out from the first word to the second word. No matter your genre, each scene should keep a story moving, throwing the protagonist off-balance. One sentence to give me the backdrop and story setup.

At this early stage, I would add and rearrange these subtopics until I thought my list was complete and clear. How comprehensive you want to be is up to you.

Two approaches to outlining As a writer, you need two kinds of outlines: what you want to do and and what you need to do.

story outline worksheet

Write a plot for each protagonist Most novels have just one central protagonist, and it often works best. Then pick the variables that you want your story outline to track over the course of your story.

Take each line of the spreadsheet and expand it to a multi-paragraph description of the scene. Generally, works of non-fiction require research and citation of sources although many novels require their own research!

Book outline drawing

How comprehensive you want to be is up to you. Continue expanding until your first draft is complete. Though you may not have an outline per se, obviously you must have an idea or you have no business in that chair. And the greatest part? In the end, you might see something like this: In other words, the start of a narrative arc. I grew up on television. Motivation — What do your characters want? The only thing blocking her is herself. That drives plot, too. Advance planning can make you more calm and less nervous. How does the action rise and fall? As someone who dislikes drafting and prefers to write the rough draft as quickly as possible, creating an in-depth outline has proven extremely helpful to me. Also, nothing beats getting editorial feedback on your manuscript.
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How to Write a Book Outline: Fiction and Nonfiction