As a novelist, you may have at one point asked yourself whether to outline or not to outline your stories as you begin a new one or continue an old plot. Of course, outlining is optional as some writers rarely required themselves to create an outline because they can actually make up any scenarios or characters on the spot. But, one thing is for sure, outlining your stories can really make a difference in your writing, as well as increase your productivity and helps you clear out your daily schedule fast. Learn more about the advantages of novel outline writing and get the tips you need to effectively make your own outline methods in this comprehensive article.
FREE 10+ Novel Outline Samples
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What Is a Novel Outline?
A novel outline is a note or document where writers plan the concept of their stories, plots, settings, characters, and other important details that are relevant to their current writing project. The process of outlining a novel brings about many benefits and advantages that could really help during the times when you are having complicated thoughts about how to continue your story from one point to another or when you are experiencing the dreaded writer’s block.
How To Create an Effective Novel Outline?
Writing a novel outline doesn’t have to be necessarily complicated. You would only need paper, a pen, and a whole lot of ideas to start creating an outline. If you want to make a detailed outline, you can follow the suggestions and recommendations below.
1. Start With Simple Ideas
When writing your outline, you do not actually have to be overcritical even with the smallest details. A mistake that writers repeatedly make most of the time is to be hard on themselves when it comes to writing their ideas. You can start with one-line ideas first, or phrases if you must. The main point here is that get every single idea on your mind out of your paper the moment the pen hits the sheet.
2. Incorporate the 5Ws
Going over your ideas, it is time to organize and rewrite them again on a fresh sheet of paper. To get the main ideas that would help you construct your story effectively, use the 5W method of questioning (Who, What, When, Where, How). This is also helpful if you are trying to build up a story that has been stagnant for quite some time.
3. Introduce Your Plot and Characters
After brainstorming and organizing your ideas, it is time to introduce your story’s plot and characters. Using the ideas from your outline, write down the general context of your plot and a simple character outline. You can include the name of the characters (if you have one for each individual), the name of the places you want to include in the story, an in-depth description of their personalities, and many others. Feel free to change the summary of your plot too, if you think it does not actually capture the story concept.
4. Write Chapter Outlines
The fastest and easiest way to write your novel is to make a chapter outline. Make a chapter synopsis to get a clear description of how you want a novel’s story to continue. This is also helpful if you want to retain the consistency of your story and that there are no irrelevant twists that will truly jeopardize the whole content of your novel. Plus, having a chapter outline allows you the chance to alter the storyline before writing and publishing them.
Can I still change my novel outline after publishing a chapter?
Yes, you certainly can change the course of your novel even after publishing a chapter. There is no definite rule that you should follow when making a novel outline.
Is it still possible to experience writer’s block even with an outline?
Even with an outline, writers still experience blocks especially when they have run out of ideas or they were simply drained from writing for a long time. Writer’s block does not just occur out of the blue, and this always happens when a writer has either stopped writing for a long time or the outline they have created beforehand does not suit their current ideas for their novel.
Why is novel outline so important?
There are many reasons why a novel outline is essential to writers and their works. It certainly helps a lot when you think you’re about to get stuck somewhere in your book chapters. It also provides the opportunity for you to maintain a steady pace when writing.
Writing a novel might definitely become a challenging task especially when you do not know where your story should go. Get the top benefits of outlining your novel by checking out our editable templates that you can download from our site.
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