Effective Outlining: Learning from the Outline

During the outlining process, take note of inconsistencies, missing information, and dangling plotlines. These are opportunities to improve the structure, characters, flow, or pacing of the story and should not be ignored.

Consider these questions while outlining and address each one before completing the outline:

  • Do any scenes present an idea that is left hanging?
  • Do any scenes need a bridge to improve the flow?
  • Are any scenes redundant or irrelevant?
  • Are there any plot holes?
  • Are any hints or questions left unanswered?
  • Are any character arcs left unfulfilled?
  • Does the ending provide a satisfying conclusion?
  • Are there any lagging sections where there is little to no progress?

Just as a story takes multiple drafts before reaching completion, so should an outline. Review the first draft of an outline for the issues mentioned above and rework those areas that aren’t working.

And remember…

Outlines should act as a guide, not a box.

Outlining is a great tool for developing all the big-picture aspects of the story, but the process should still leave room for flexibility while writing. The end goal is a great story, not a perfectly followed outline.

Published by

DelSheree

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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