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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Overview Nonfiction: Outline Sample Choices Part Three

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

Outlines? Everyone Does (Excerpt From Write Your Novel Now Workshop)


As we’re developing our story, through brainstorming, synopsis, story questions, and plot points, the outline gives us a grid in which to see the overall effect. What umbrella will best cover this sequence?

If you are writing within a real historical timeline, you may need, or want to use, some particular events as external plot points. So you’ll need to know where you can place it alongside your character’s external or internal conflict.

As you come to each chapter, decide which outline will work best for this particular next step. Do the micro-steps in stages. Then when you’re done, you can lift out all the outlines and examine the overall macro view.

Another advantage is that the micro can be pulled out of a larger work and shared either as blogs or workshop sections. And the micro can be extended into full-length projects. We’ll talk more about blogs in a few weeks.

Your turn to make decisions.

1. So write an outline first and then write your chapter draft from it.

2. Or write your chapter draft and then outline it according to the style you’ve chosen.

3. For either, review: Where are the missing parts? Do you need research in that area? Make a separate work list for later or for your time filler schedule. And then move to the next chapter on your next writing time.

4. Another creative jumpstart is to find an outline that represents your focus and apply it to a novel that you admire. Fill it in first with the story itself, and then replace those lines with generic sentences just as you did with the story questions.

For example, if you needed a structure for introducing a legend, deconstruct a novel that does the same and mark where and how the “event” is covered. Or in your research if there’s an incident for a hero or heroine that is perfect for a sequence for your character then write up an outline for it and then watch for a place to adapt it to your character’s personality.


Don’t let outlining become a chore. Begin with the easiest and fill in as you go. Outlines make all the structure so much easier to plan and to edit, but they’re meant to be fun too.

Action Steps:
            1. Using the steps above outline your potential book.

Share: Which part was the most difficult? Why?

Read deep, marcy

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