Hi, I'm Lianna.
Every story needs an outline. I mean, isn't that what they taught us in school? They always told us that every story, essay, paper needed an outline.
And, well, they weren't wrong.
Whether you're an outline-er or pantser, I'm here to give you the essentials of creating a good story outline. Don't worry, if you'd rather just take it write by the seat of your pants, this is still for you! There are the essentials to a good novel. And somethings you might want to take note of during your writing process for a good smooth-going story.
Whether you're wanting to begin a story from scratch or wanting to outline a novel you've already written (or are still working on), the key to a successful outline is held inside of two steps. Step One: Start Small. Step Two: Dive deeper.
To begin with, you need an idea.
Already have an idea? Great! Go ahead and jot down (or type up) all the ideas that you have for the entire story in general. Anything at all that you have in mind!
Don't have any ideas yet (I know the feeling. That happens most when NaNoWriMo creeps up on us unexpectedly.)? Then, it's probably a good time to find some ideas. My favorite place to find ideas is Pinterest!
Characters are definitely a major part of your story. Who is your hero/heroine/protagonist? Who is your villain/bad guy/antagonist?
Make a list of your main characters.
For each main character, give them a profile. A place where you keep track of their appearance, traits, personality, and any other notes about them. This is going to help you make more believable character profiles.
And then make a list of your secondary characters. Who are your main characters' family, friends, enemies? Any other significant characters who show up in the story? Write down all the ones you know.
Don't worry, you can always come back and add to this list of characters as you tweak your story.
Write down where your story is set and a little bit about it. If it's set on modern earth, in modern day, there isn't much to note about it. But you might want to know where on earth it's set. Tennessee? Russia? Australia?
If it's set in a made-up fantasy world, a different time in history, a dystopian world, or a different dimension, there's definitely going to more to note about it. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, it's important to get to know your story's world.
So know you know your characters and your world...what next? The storyline. What is the basic idea of your story? A boy who dreamed about going to the moon as a child and spends his life trying to make it a reality? A princess who doesn't actually want to be saved from the dragon? A mysterious man living on a hill who, as rumor has it, kills all trespassers?
What's your story about?
During the process of outlining a novel, creativity tends to strike. So make sure to take note of any and every scene idea you have in mind!
What do you know about your novel?
Now that you have all these things about your novel written down or typed up...is there anything else you know about your novel? Take note of all of these things. And then it's time for step two.