How to Outline Your Novel



Getting ready for NaNo? Do you get stuck with your writing sometimes? My second episode for Writerly Wednesdays deals with outlining!


Everything that I do as part of my outlining process should be changed to suit your individual needs. Now, this probably isn't something you want to hear. Don't fret! I, just like most people, wanted a magic formula to getting my story on paper. One single method that would be the answer to all my prayers.


I didn't find it. Or, rather, I found it in a way I didn't expect.


I'm not sure how many books on the writing craft that I've read, because I've been reading them since I was a teenager (and I didn't have Goodreads back then to keep track). But there was one common thing I found among all of the books that I read:


No two methods are the same.


Granted, there are a lot that are very similar. What this epiphany did for me was to make me realize that my method won't be like any one of theirs.


You need to adapt. Your method has to be just that, your method. Trial and error may suck, and reading books on outlining will definitely give you a better idea of what you need to do, but one size does not fit all. And this is a good thing. What if every book in the world were written in the same structured outline (oh but Vivien, that's the three-act structure...I know, just go with it okay!)? We would get tired of that repetitive pacing. We wouldn't like reading about the same five basic characters in every story.


We like different. We want every story we read to be, in some way, unique. Therefore, I think your process to outlining must also be unique.


Alright, rant over! Focus Vivien!


If you would rather see me chat about my method, watch the video below!



First things first: find out of you're a plotter or a pantser! Most likely if you're in this post, you think you're a plotter. A pantser is someone who comes up with a general idea for their story and immediately sits down to write the story. I thought this was me for a very long time and boy, was I wrong! You don't, or most likely aren't, 100% of either one. I don't map out every single detail before I write, but I definitely have to do a lot of plotting. I'd say that I'm about 80% plotter, 20% pantser. If I get stuck while I'm writing, I tend to make a few more detailed notes about that chapter. Sometimes that's just what I need to get out of my rut.


Here are the things I do in my outlining process. You can feel free to change whatever you want to, however you want. You're the one that's going to be wri