A few weeks—maybe months, who even knows anymore—back, I wrote a blog about starting a book in 15 minutes or less. In that, I talked about the importance of creating an outline. While I highly encourage you to check out the entire blog post, in a nutshell, I wrote that an outline is important because this is basically the meat and potatoes of your entire book.
What do I mean by that? Keep reading to find out!
Importance of Outlining
If you’re anything like me, outlining is 100000% necessary when writing. And by me, of course, I’m talking about being a scatterbrained, visual person who, if I don’t have a reference guide to keep me on track, will accomplish nothing. If this sounds like you in the slightest, outlining will be your saving grace when it comes to writing.
That’s because, depending on which format you use, your outline essentially is a condensed, oftentimes dialogue-less skeleton of what your book is all about. More specifically, this lets you know exactly what’s happening in each scene to each of your characters.
I’ve found this saves a whole lot of time when it comes to the writing process. And, if I’ve ever stuck as to what should happen next, I’ll always refer to my scene list and scene summary.
But don’t be afraid to change up your outline. If when writing you suddenly stray from your outline and find it impossible to make your way back on the path, don’t panic. I’ve done that a million different times. While I spend a week or so outlining, I treat this as a pre-rough draft that’s as flexible as my imagination.
The important thing about outlining is that it helps you get a clear picture of where and how your reader is introduced to your characters, how they’ll part ways, and making that dreaded blank page a thing of the past.
Outlining: As Easy As One, Two, Three
If you have no clue where to start in terms of outlining, you’ll love this easy-to-use template. Now I, just like you, had no clue where to start when I first outlined. So, what I did was turn to my fellow writers. After doing some internet searching, I found a template that worked for me.
This particular template didn’t just block out each scene, where it takes place, and what happens, but it goes one step further by including information based on both your character’s inner and outer journey. I found this particularly helpful when figuring out how my character should evolve as a person.
Now, before I share this extremely helpful link, I’ll preface this by saying I did not make this template and take no credit for it. I’ve tried finding the original post, but five years after first downloading and several hours of searching over nearly a year have proved this impossible. The closest I could find is the Reddit post that has a copy and paste of the same journey section as this template. However, I’ll continue searching for the original post and will update when [hopefully] found.
With this outline in hand, you’ll find creating your very own novel or short story outline is as easy as one, two, three.
Additional Outline Resources
What’s worked for me when completing two novels and starting my third may not work for you. That’s okay! Below I’ve listed some additional resources that can help you outline your novel and just finish that manuscript already!
These resources are those I’ve used over the past handful of years that I’ve found helpful, so I hope my blog on outlining combined with these resources will help you out, too.
What Are You Waiting For: Time to Get Started
Now that you have a better idea of the benefits of outlining, what information to include, and, have a template in hand, it’s time to get started. Take a few minutes to read through my How to Start a Book in 15 Minutes or Less blog, then get outlining. You’ll see that in no time at all you’re ready to tackle that manuscript with ease.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to get started!