Posted in books, creative writing, writing, writing advice, writing thoughts, writing tips

Effectively Outlining: The Purpose of an Outline

Strong planning can help create a strong storyline.

What is a story outline?

An outline includes planning information about:

  • Structure
  • Plot
  • Characters
  • Scenes
  • Events
  • Conflict

Outlines provide a skeleton or map of the full story.

Having skeleton or map can help writers visualize the big picture of the storyline, organize story details and keep the story on track, create full character arcs, plan scenes and structure them in a way that keeps the story moving.

Outlines can also help improve writing efficiency by preventing writing blocks, dead-end plot lines or subplots, and allowing the writer to research needed aspects beforehand rather than during the writing process.

Questions and outline should answer:

  • What is the main contract made with the reader?
  • Are all promises resolved by the end?
  • What pressures are working on the characters?
  • Does the pressure grow more intense as the story progresses?
  • What is at stake for the main characters?
  • Are those stakes high enough that failure inspires stress or anxiety for the reader?
  • Does the ending make logical sense and fit with the rest of the story?

When a question can’t be answered by an outline, dig deeper or step back and consider why a certain question has no answer. Does the storyline need to be altered, or is there an issue with the character that prevents an easier answer? Unanswered questions are prompts for additional development and can provide a writer with new avenues to explore!

Apologies for disappearing from the blog for the past couple months. Writing graduate school and getting through the holidays were kicking my butt and I needed to take a step away.

Author:

DelSheree Gladden was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool, but she already had a love for reading. Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting it before having it published. Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their cousins close by. When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing, running, and adventuring with her family. Find out more about DelSheree and her books here: https://delshereegladden.com/

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