Writing a book is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of work. It is exhausting to the point you might give up halfway and completely abandon the whole project and leave it rotting on a shelf. Sometimes, people are late in realizing how important an outline is in writing a story and the next thing they know, they become uninspired in finishing the book. Here is a seven-step process on how to create a flexible outline for any story or book from Writer’s Digest.
A premise is the basic idea of the story itself. But sometimes, it is not enough. If the idea is too vague, it will not be clear on where to proceed from there. Even if it is just the idea of the story, it is important to make it as specific as possible. You may also see autobiography outline.
In creating a said outline, it has to try to answer the following questions:
• Who is the protagonist?
• What is the situation? What is the hero’s personal condition at the beginning? How will that condition be changed, for better or worse, by the hero himself or by the antagonistic force?
• What is the protagonist’s objective? At the beginning, what does the hero want? What moral (or immoral) choices will she have to make in her attempt to gain that objective?
• Who is the opponent? Who or what stands in the way of the hero achieving his objective?
• What will be the disaster? What misfortune will befall the hero as the result of his attempts to achieve his objective?
• What’s the conflict? What conflict will result from the hero’s reaction to the disaster? And what is the logical flow of cause and effect that will allow this conflict to continue throughout the story?
After answering these questions, merge them and see if a more specific premise comes out and then, you can begin from there. You may also see book outline.
Good! You have your solid premise. You can start cooking up ideas on how your book will turn out. Start by writing everything that you know will transpire in your book. At this stage, you might have even come up with some scenes. So, even if you have no idea how these scenes will play out in the story, go ahead and add them to the list. Our main goal is to note every idea popping out in your head and record them. You may also see speech outlines.
As you finish, take a breather to review what you have come up with. Whenever you encounter an idea that raises questions, highlight it. For example, if you do not know how these two scenes will connect, highlight them. By pausing to identify possible plot holes now, you will be able to save yourself a ton of rewriting later on.You may also see essay outlines.
After highlighting the said issues in your story, the next thing to do would be to address them, one at a time. Allow the train of thoughts and ideas flow without ceasing. Since this is the most unstructured step of your outline, this will be your best opportunity to unleash your creativity and plumb the depths of your story’s potential. You may also see thesis outline.
Every time you think you’ve come up with a good idea, take a moment to ask yourself, “Will the reader expect this?” If the answer is yes, write a list of alternatives your readers won’t expect.
Your characters are the heart and the soul of the story. Without them, the book and the ideas would never exist in the first place.
Each character has their own background with their own unique set of characteristics with their own story to tell on how they have reached that point in their lives. As the plot becomes thicker, so do the lives of the characters of the story. It is important to give the character’s lives extra attention as people mostly fall in love with the characters and not often the plot. You may also see course outline.
Once you have a basic idea of how your character will be invested in the main story, you can start unearthing the nitty-gritty details of his life with a character interview. You may choose to follow a preset list of questions, or you may have better luck with a “freehand interview” in which you ask your protagonist a series of questions and allow him to answer in his own words. You may also see resume outline.
Once you have your characters and plot figured out, it is time to determine the story’s locale. A word of advice: Don’t choose a setting just because it sounds cool or because you’re familiar with it. Look for settings that will be inherent to your plot. Can you change your story’s primary locale without any significant alterations to the plot? If so, dig a little deeper to find a setting better suited to your plot, theme, and characters. You may also see tentative outline.
Work to create a linear, well-structured plot with no gaps in the story. If you can get this foundation right in your outline, you’ll later be free to apply all your focus and imagination to the first draft and bring your story to life.
As you mentally work through each scene, watch for possible lapses of logic or blank areas in how one event builds to another. Take the time to think through these potential problems so they won’t trip you up later. If you get stuck, try jumping ahead to the next scene and try working your way backwards. You may also see rough outline.
Now that your complete outline has been written, it is high time that you learn to point out only the important details in your story. Once you have an idea of what they are, you are expected to have an easier time going through your story without going back to the bulk of the manuscript.
Congratulations! You’re ready to begin writing your book. But the thing is, you can always deviate from the outline should you find a more interesting plot twist in the story. After all, the outline is just there as a guide. The only limit is your imagination. You may also see speech outline.
We hope we’ve given you enough inspiration to finally finish that book you are writing.