How to Outline your Novel (Updated!)

23 thoughts on “How to Outline your Novel (Updated!)

  1. Hi Kim, I'm really enjoying your videos. One question: In a previous video you've said that it's best not to give too much background information or backstory in the beginning of the novel. I've heard this advice from other writers as well. However, Freytag's pyramid makes it seem like the Exposition is for just that, laying out backstory, etc. I currently have an idea for a novel, but I'm struggling with where to start it and how much backstory to give. Can you please advise? Thanks! -Lauren

  2. Thanks for these videos. In one video, your advice for dialogue tags was game changing.

  3. Kim, that was, as you just termed it, [super] helpful, informative, insightful, plus just genuinely fun and delightful to watch-especially with you at the helm.
    I will definitely consider everything you said, and try my best to put them to use when I am writing in the future.
    Thank you so much for your input and perspective on things, and I will see you on your next video-or [podcast], if you like 😀 Good day!

  4. This video is really helpful. I didn't know the freytag structure and i'll use it. It looks very useful. Loved this video as usual, you are a very, very, very great person and writer. Kisses and hugs for you and your family and succsses for you, always.

  5. Snowflake is pretty daunting for me, I will probably try Freytag's pyramid. When I started NaNoWriMo that pyramid was actually part of the outlining process suggested to me… I just never did it.

  6. Not writing an outline for the book is like building a house without a foundation.
    Thanks for giving so much different options to outline. I've noticed that I use a mixture of multiple outline techniques myself, some of them suggested in this video.

  7. I have a question I've been reading a lot of Lovecraft lately and realized that I think he could paint a great picture with words. He must have had the same problem I have when writing there is NO dialogue in anything he writes, is that why he he didn't really get popular until after his death??

  8. Good video. Sidenote: I really want those earrings–where did you find those? or did you make them? 😉

  9. I combine 3 of the methods you mention:

    1. One or a few sentences summarize the story, hitting the main points I can think of.
    2. Put those on real or virtual index cards. Move 'em around & add new ones as seems right.
    3. Take a skeleton outline which includes the Acts and scene titles such as "grabber," set the scene," "first reversal," "crisis," and "last image." I use a form of "The Writer's Journey" as the model.

    I use Scrivener, so I can move the scenes around, delete 'em and fill in character sheets as new ideas for characters come up.

    I take virtual snapshots of the novel in case I want to backtrack. I also don't throw away a scene when I remove it. I place it into a virtual folder called "notes." That folder also contains ideas I don't know how to work into the story… or if they SHOULD be worked in.

  10. I outline by taking a stack of index cards and writing chapter by chapter. Each index card details what happens in a chapter and at the very end they all go in a neat stack. You could also do this by scenes, but I prefer the chapter method.

  11. thank you so much for helping me with these videos on how i can write , improve my book …… thank you 🙂

  12. I really wish I did an outline. Motivations and stakes.

    But i didn't. Now I have two novels. Struggling with the query letter. Can't sleep.

    Query shark will eat me.

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