Creating An Outline

Before I ever start writing a book, one of the first things I do is write an outline. Having an outline makes writing a book so much easier. Having the roots of your story established so that when you write everything can grow and branch out.

When I write my outlines I do my best to keep everything simple and clear. It keeps you from suffering the derided blank page that seems to haunt many writers. It also ensures that you know where your story is going. It does this by making you think out all the major events that are going to take place before you start writing it.  Nothing is worse than getting halfway (or more) through writing a book, only to find yourself stuck not knowing what to do next.

Some people may argue that having a detailed outline of your book before you start writing takes away all the creative freedom one has from free from writing. My experience has found that to be a completely false statement. The way I write my outlines allows for plenty of room for one to be creative and come up with story ideas and events on a whim.

When I create an outline I date it with the date I started working on it. I will then title it ‘Outline’ with a subtitle of the book’s working title if I have one. I will than indicate the chapter followed by the month and year of when the even in the chapter is taking place. So for example:

Chapter # – (Month/Year)

  • Even number one
  • Event number two
  • Event number three

So If I took the template above and added actual content to it, it might look something like this:

Chapter 1 – (December/1980)

  • Birth of Joseph White at McCady Hospital
  • Joesph’s parents notice the new baby is not like other babies
  • Joesph’s parents struggle to keep their babies special abilities a secret from friends and family.

That is how I outline my books. Chapter 1 through however many till I am done.

Once my outline is done then I begin writing it all out. I do this by opening up a new blank page in my word processor application and copying my outline for chapter one and pasting it in that new blank page and use that outline as my guideline.

As you can see by my outline it leaves plenty open for the creative process to take over. My writing can take me off in many different tangents. Some are good and help the story along, while others do nothing but bloat out the story with needless details. I don’t normally worry about that during the first draft of my writings. I just let myself write and get it all out of my system. Its normally the second draft of my writing where I will go over everything line by line eliminating the needless tangents or the excess descriptions.

I found a really cool youtube video called ‘How To Write A 1000 Words‘ not to long ago. It’s was pretty neat for me to see a visual representation of how I pretty much write.

I hope you found this information useful. I am interested to read what you might do when creating an outline, or any writing tips for that matter. Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.