How to Outline Your Novel

I am definitely one to plan out an entire story before I begin writing. I want to know where the story has to go next and how it will end. There are a lot of ways to plan and outline novel, novella, or short story.

Before I figured out my own outlining method, I had trouble finding an outlining sheet that would work for me. Most of them are simple, having mainly a Beginning, Climax, and Conclusion. But I needed something with more room; I like to write out all my plot points in a chapter.


J.K. Rowling’s Plot Planning Sheet

I don’t do anything near that complex.

Here’s what I do.

I will do my outline chapter by chapter, and it looks something like this:

Chapter 2

  • Introduce Scene
  • Something Happens
  • Character’s resulting emotions
  • What character does in response
  • Etc.

Of course, that is just works for me; it may not work for you. I will put my outline into a separate word document and keep it open as I work on my rough draft, that way I can refer to it and make sure I’m on track, as well as figuring out the best way to flow into the next scene.

I suggest figuring out your own outline style; there is no need to use a outline worksheet like this:

However, if these work for you, by all means use them!

But if you want to find your own style, decide what you need to put into a scene, and write it down.

Have fun planning your stories!

What do you do for an outline?


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