How To Outline Your Book Series

How to Outline a Series of Bestselling Books

Every good series has to start somewhere. If you’re of the mindset (as I am) that a problem as complicated as the novel is best approached from the big-picture view of an outline, then it only makes sense that the even greater complexities of serial fiction will benefit even more when their authors understand how […]

The Nanowrimo Guide To Outlining (How To Write A Scene Outline You Can Use)

How to Write a Scene Outline You Can Use (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 9)

When most people ask “how to outline a novel,” what they’re really asking is “how to write a scene outline.” But here’s the thing: writing a good scene outline should be the last thing you do in your outlining process—which brings us to the ninth and final part in our two-month exploration of how to outline […]

The Nanowrimo Guide to Outlining (Learning What's Important About Your Characters)

Making the Most of Character Interviews (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 8)

Plot and character aren’t so different after all. In fact, in many ways, they’re the same thing. Over the course of the last seven posts, as you’ve focused on outlining your plot, you’ve also been outlining your characters, perhaps without even knowing it. But now it’s finally time to focus exclusively on character interviews. By […]

How to Structure Your Story’s Outline (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 7)

Story outline and story structure—are they different terms describing the same thing? This is a question I frequently receive, and the answer is, “No, they’re completely different concepts and tools.” But learning how to structure your story’s outline is a crucial part of the preparation process. So what’s the difference between outlining and structuring? Outlining is a process, in […]

The Nanowrimo Guide to Outlining (How to Put Your Story Pieces Together)

3 Tips for Weaving Together Your Story’s Pieces (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 6)

Figuring out how to outline a novel is not a linear process. Particularly in the early brainstorming stages, outlining is not a simple progression from Step A to Step B. Your brain is going to be bouncing all over the place: Step A makes you realize something about Step Z, which makes you realize something about […]

4 Ways to Write Backstory That Matters (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 5)

There are two equally vital parts to any story: the part you see and the part you don’t. The context and subtext. The story and the backstory. Whether you’re trying to figure out how to outline for NaNoWriMo (only one day away!) or just needing a game plan for your next work-in-progress, one of the most […]

How to Find and Fill All Your Plot Holes (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 4)

How to Find and Fill All Your Plot Holes (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 4)

What is the single most important job of an outline for NaNoWriMo—or any other book at any other time of the year? We might come up with lots of answers, but they all tend to boil down to just this one: avoiding plot holes. I hate plot holes. They drive me bazooey. There you are, […]

The Nanowrimo Guide to Outlining (How to Find the Heart of Your Story)

3 Steps to Find the Heart of Your Story (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 3)

Most of the time when you start figuring out how to outline a story, you know one of two things about that story. Either you know the skeleton of your story (its premise or plot), or you know the heart of your story. But it’s not enough to have just one. You gotta have both. On its surface, […]

The Nanowrimo Guide to Outilining (the First 4 Questions to Ask Yourself)

Start Your Outline With These 4 Questions (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 2)

“Where do you start your outline?” is a question I often receive. Now, if the obvious answer “start at the beginning” were, in fact, the right answer, no one would be asking this. The reason writers ask this question is because, when properly approached, outlines are anything but linear—which can make the “beginning” rather hard to identify. Whether you’re […]

How to Outline for NaNoWriMo: Should You Outline Your Novel?

How to Outline for NaNoWriMo: Should You Outline Your Novel?

Welcome to October—otherwise known as Cram Like Crazy for National Novel Writing Month (maybe we should call it CraLiFoNaNoMoWriMo—it’s got a certain ring, right?). Maybe you’re a NaNo veteran. Maybe you’re a tentative first-timer. Or maybe you’re not interested in writing 50,000 words in 30 days, but just want to figure out should you outline […]