In July, I finished the first real novel outline I’ve ever made. I’ve done some outlining before, but it’s only ever a few main plot points and I just make the rest up as I’m drafting. That’s worked for me so far, but my current WIP is something I want to put a bit more care into. I think it deserves a lot more time and effort than my past stories, and I wanted to try a real outline to make sure the plot and pacing are working before I delve into the second draft.
A couple years ago, I did a series called Behind the Story all about the prep work that goes into a story before drafting begins. I researched a bunch of different outlining methods. You can check those out here and here. While there are a lot of outlining method, they all share a lot of similarities. So, I set out to combine them in a way that would work best for me. Which is when I discovered someone had already beaten me to it.
In my attempt to create the perfect outlining layout, I found this 24 chapter outline template created by Derek Murphy of Creativindie. He explains it a lot more in depth than I’m going to, and also provides free template downloads, over here. He also has a lot of indie-writer resources available to check out. I haven’t used his other resources myself, but I’m a big fan of this template:
The outline has all of the major plot points that any other outline would have, but it lays them out in a way that visually reflects the pacing of the story, something I was having trouble getting just right. It also breaks everything down into chapters, which is something I don’t think about while I’m drafting and struggle to correct later on.
This outline did what I wanted my giant combination of outlining methods to do, except someone else had already done it, saving me a lot of time and effort. But it also took away my productive procrastination.