Outlining Your Novel
Like any writer, this is a step in the process where it gets real. By this times character profiles should have been done, the plot sketched out on many different post it notes or a notebook. This is the part where your desk or writing area looks a mess with so many different ideas and levels to your story. Writers outline in many ways. Some do not use an outline at all. Whatever way you fancy, outlining or sorting your ideas is a must. Depending on what of novel you are writing, research is very important and some research can take months or even years to sort through. For example, imagine writing a crime fiction novel. You may have old case files, have suspects to figure out, and more.
When it comes to outlining, think of it as telling a story from the beginning, middle and the end. Or for screenwriters this Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3, but take things step by step. Ask yourself these questions: How do I want the story to start? What will the main character do in the beginning of the story? Is he/she being dramatic? Is the character going to talk in a narrative tone or third person? Check out this example of how an outline can go.
- Main Character
- Who is it? ( Give me a full fabricated name)
- Zodiac Sign
- Mannerisms ( is he/she shy? Smooth and charismatic? A Jerk?)
- Where does his story start? (High school, middle school, College?)
- What made him the main character the way he/she is? (Pain, addiction, broken heart)
- Add other characters, friends, parents, situations and incidents. Give them names, descriptions, complexions, mannerisms and characteristic. Be specific.
- Family Life
- Does the main character have siblings?
- What was his household like? Day to day routine?
- Parents accepting of he/she? Did he feel like the black sheep? Got along with everyone?
- Talk about parents were they good parents? Bad parents?
- Personality of Main Character
- Did he get along with his peers?
- Have a best friend?
- What did he like to do for fun?
- What happens that shifts the main characters life/lifestyle? What made it hard?
- Explain in detail, how he was feeling while his life was changing
- What makes the transition of a innocent child to an adult?
- Is the main character married? Have kids? What is that structure like while he’s going through what he is?
- Final Result Or Ending
- What is the main character taking away from this?
- How has he/she learned?
- Does the good outweigh the bad depending on the situation?
- What would you like to see for an ending?
I’ve attached some blog posts that will help you get starting with the writing process once you are ready. Included are other example outlines and more notes as well. I’ve put them in order of the writing when you get started. I hope this article and the other examples I have provided help you go far with your writing! NanowriMo is coming soon ( National Novel Writing Month) and I hope you guys that are writers will participate.