5 Ways to Outline your Novel | NaNoWriMo2016

*wow wow* hey, you guys. *laughs* and welcome to my channel we’re two weeks away from NaNoWriMo I’m just so so excited I thought two weeks is a pretty good time to start outlining the story that you want to make. Whether it’s for NaNo if you’re a first time writer: hi. Welcome. you’re gonna wanna kill yourself at some point in this journey but you know, writing… writing is fun. just– so the first and probably most common way to outline a novel is by bullet points EY! I’ve got a white board and everythin’ pretty self explanatory. Basically you just put down the things that goes on in that chapter I think most writers usually just write the plot, a.k.a what are some of the actions that are going on in chapter 1, 2, 3, and things like that but some writers also tend to put other notes that are relevant for that chapter. where is the chapter taking place? what kind of mood is it? the characters that are involved. i think the biggest advantage with this outline is that it’s… look at me — I’m cheating. it’s probably the easiest to navigate especially if you are the type to outline straight away in your laptop. So for example, if you use a word document or for me, I use Scrivener. If you’re new to the whole writing world be sure to check that out. It’s a writing program that’s super super useful. Once you’ve converted into the Scrivener crew, you can never go back to a Word Document. I’m just letting you know now. But I find that having a really long outline document sort of confuses me If you feel like you’re like me, that you just can’t handle a 10.000-word outline. A really good place to start is to create a timeline. An example that I’ve put here is if you write a story that takes place over 4 years of High School So, that would be like Freshman year, Junior, Sophomore, Senior Year It just gives a clearer narrative arc. Usually the things that you write, that are taking place, they’re not necessarily a chapter It’s more like the occurences that you think happens in the story but of course after this, you’re going to need to cluster and filter and clump the happenings together into different chapters — which is a really fun process, in my opinion. This sort of method is also great if you have a story that contains a lot of flashbacks because sometimes this can get really confusing You can just set it up, year per year. so you see everything that goes on in this person’s life. And when you need to flesh out or pick a flashback that you wanna insert you know exactly at what time of their life that it’s happening the biggest pro with this method is that it sets up for a great “build up” and “pay off”. so if you’re new to this concept, that just means that you are implanting little hints or plot points that will contribute to a bigger event So the third way to outline your story, and probably my favourite way is by creating a Post-It Board! you can even do it on your wall, or a cardboard, or anything that you’re up for and you buy little Post-Nits. P-post nits? Post-Its* and you just slap all of your ideas, all of the plot points that you want to take place. I think the biggest thing with this, is that it’s FUN– first of all. I like that the action is tangible. As in I can see and feel myself rearranging things making things work, adding things if necessary, taking things out. Again, it’s so much fun to combine different ideas into one chapter So the fourth one, if you guys don’t know, I heard that this is how J.K Rowling outlines her book so that’s actually pretty cool. And that’s a Table Method. On top we have a Main Plot, Subplot 1, Subplot 2 and in here it’s just the chapters being listed. This is super effective if your story has more complexity and involves a lot of characters and there’s not just one narrative that’s going on. For example, here we can see in the beginning: Chapter 1 focuses on the Main Plot that’s being progressed And then in Chapter 2, we write something that progresses the Main Plot and the SubPlot 1 So we get to see how each chapter moves the story forward but we’re also making sure that all of the subplots make sense on their own and they don’t get abandoned somewhere in the middle of the story or the reader is left confused because there are too many things going on. I think this is a great way to stay super organised. You can use it as a progression for romantic conflict, family conflict, friendship conflict This is really useful as well if your book has a sequel or if it’s made of a series of books. And for the last technique, I feel like this is a little bit unorthodox I’ve never heard of any author or any of my fellow writers who outline this way and that’s the Calendar Method. I printed an online calendar — you can Google something up, choose a calendar that’s cute and you like You create a schedule for your (main) character so for example, you know when their school holiday ends, when it starts again the assignments that she has or deadlines, her friends and family’s birthdays date nights that she has with her boyfriend when she goes and see her friends and of course plot points that progresses the story. It’s really cool as well because you get a clear idea of the seasons that’s going on that’s a big plus. Especially if you’re writing in a setting where the country has 4 seasons it tends to get really confusing if you’re not taking note of that what’s important to remember in the calendar is that you’re writing as much as you can but at the end of the day, you only have to choose some that you want to put in the chapter what’s really cool with this technique is that you really get into the character’s headspace you really feel their lifestyle. But it is a bit of a hassle. You would need to spend a fair bit more time when you’re doing this compared to the other outlines. But I think it’s pretty worth it. especially when you’re still in that stage where you’re trying to bond with your characters and understand them a bit more. so… yeah! of course there are still a million other ways probably to outline a novel. keep in mind that you can always mix and match if you only use the Timeline for their past, but everything else happens in Post-Its. or you like to use the Bullet Points and then after that’s all fixed, you transfer it into the Table just to make sure that the story works in multiple levels. I’m super interested to know how you guys outline your stories if there are any other unique ways that I didn’t know about if you wanted to let me know, if you have any questions, write them in the comments. as usual, don’t forget to like this video. Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t Also! Don’t forget to check out my other writing videos I hope you guys are having an amazing day. Be Kind. Be Happy. Be-YOU-tiful. And… bye!

11 thoughts on “5 Ways to Outline your Novel | NaNoWriMo2016

  1. This was super helpful!! I hadn't thought of a few of these 🙂 I usually outline in Scrivener using folders for each chunk of the story, then individual scenes inside those… but these are more in-depth. I feel more prepared for my first NaNoWriMo in 5 years! 😁

  2. This was a great video! Thank you. Let's hope I find the time to properly outline before I have to resort to full fledged pantsing again :/

  3. I just found your channel and see you're taking part in nano for the first time! Me too!!! I'm so excited!! Awesome advice! I'm not much of a planner but I'm starting to get really inspired by all these nano prep videos! New subscriber. Hope to keep in touch!

  4. I really enjoy your writing tips on your channel! I'm especially glad you give visual examples as most people don't. I hope you continue to post videos and share your writing journey. Hand written outline, digital, or both?

  5. One outlining style that I found quite interesting is the one used in writing Gravity Falls as described by Alex Hirsch himself: first, they'd talk about all the characters and their flaws, then they'd define their character arcs from this and make their own outlines, and then they'd have two walls to pour their ideas down, one wall with the actual chapters for the series lined in order, and one in front of that for all the freaky wacky weirdness. Then, they would look for the one wacky weirdness that would somehow be more compatible with any character arc's specific beat which would become the focus of the episode. They'd also have the overall plot of the series at hand as well, and so, they would proceed to take a character's arc beat, its respective compatible piece of weirdness, and an overall plot's beat, following a similar process for all episode's subplots as well.

    I found this process to be quite translatable to book's writing process, even if you're not actually following a monster of the week format. For me, it works just fine as it is for the most part because it's compatible with the actual structure of the kind of story I'm writing, which is a crazy collage and somehow a lot of short episodical stories with an overarching plot linking them all as well.

    Also, some stories might translate better to certain kinds of outlining, and if this is your case, don't worry and just try to find out what works better for you and your story.

    May the force be with you :3

  6. I stumbled on your channel by chance, and have binge-watched most of your videos. Girl, you just got yourself another subscriber. Keep up the good work! 🙂

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