Learn How to Write a Novel Outline

Developing a Novel Outline: Basic Rules

An outline for a novel is a complete draft of the story, organized and summarized to be able to use it without having to read through the whole text again. As a writer, you will develop a novel in different stages. There are those which you work on the first draft, and then later on you can build it up. An outline is a part of the process that will allow you to find the first sentence that will link to the central idea and make your work flow consistently, thus allowing you to develop the plot and characters in the most natural way.

Formulating a Novel Outline: What Should You Include?

Various elements can make your work really stand out. Here are the basic guidelines you should aim for in an outline.

  • Major Characters

The fundamental characters in the entire writing process must be included. Even though you are writing it to be a story, the characters must come first. You need to show your audience who is driving the story and why they need to read it. For this to be perfect, they should have some background information about the characters you have introduced.

  • Plot

Once you understand who is driving the plot and why they are there, ensure they are clearly and exhaustively stated. In most cases, the outline will have the basic elements of the story. Focus on developing the characters and developing the plot. You can arrange all that in the main section of the outline, and then elaborate on the sub-plots using subheads. In the low-hanging plot-majorly-starring-main element, consider saying why the plot is important, then briefly comment on the plot as it is. This will avoid creating a story that is not logical.

  • Pairings

You will often be making up characters to link the plot together. Therefore, ensure you include each character in their paragraph, and each should appear in its paragraph of a couple of pages. That way, the reader will have a sense of consistency in the plot being developed.

  • Developing the Overall Structure of the Outline

How does your plot structure look like? What parts are the major ones? Is it the beginning, middle, and ending? Do the characters usually come first, then the plot, or the two in and out? This detail will help you determine how you are going to develop the entire plot to make it look like a coherent story. Your outline will help you avoid several mistakes that your work can easily fall into.

Crafting a Novel Outline Using the Guidelines Given

Most people would say it’s really easy to create an outline for any kind of work, even something like writing a novel. Here is how to do it correctly;

Start the Outline

Ensure you have enough time, have enough information to help develop the outlines. Write the idea that you want to be the main concept. Talk about the major characters, and why each of them matters. The ideal place to begin writing your outline is with the reader in mind. Be sure to give each significant character their paragraph and explain their supporting roles, which are often the hardest to portray.

Describe the Story

After all the details are well-explained, write a short anecdote about the main character. Let them live. Allow them to shine. Their personality should be clear.

Add Plot Hooks

Do not forget to include the plot hook at the end of your paragraphs. Do not forget to include every hint you have given in the main text, like the influence of the character or the events. You can insert one or two more details, depending on the amount of plot hooks.

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