HomeGuidesSelf PublishingBook Outline: 7 Easy Ways To Outline Your Book

Book Outline: 7 Easy Ways To Outline Your Book

Think of book outline as a blueprint or roadmap for a story. It’s a very useful tool that helps authors stay focused on their story or book based on them plot or goals of the book.

Many people don’t know about book outlines while others don’t know how to use them. Some of the most frequently asked questions about book outlines is the format. Should your outline be in bullet form or in paragraph form or if it should be listed based on the topic or based on the chapter?

There are many types of book outlines. Regardless of which form an author chooses, they all serve the same purpose. It’s like having your own personal writing GPS, which gives you directions about where the storyline is going.

We’ve outlined some of the best and most common book outline techniques that will come in handy if you are about to start writing your book.

1) SNOWFLAKE Book Outline Method

This method was created by a fiction writing coach Randy Ingermanson. He based this design on the mentality that “Good fiction doesn’t just happen. It’s designed.”

Just as the name implies, the entire process of writing starts with a small idea and then eventually will expand as it keeps going. The snowflake writing method starts with a one line sentence about your book, then expands from there. It then turns into a paragraph, then eventually into a chapter.

Ingermanson believes that this method is fairly detailed and based on scientific theory. The snowflake method is commonly used in fiction writing.

Link to the website: https://jerichowriters.com/how-to-plot-a-novel-snowflake-method/

2. BASIC Document Book Outline Method

Writers use this method in order to give structure to the theme of the book they are writing. The main target is to use the basic document formats such as Word or Excel to organize the main thoughts of the entire book. This method focuses on creating a table to organize and summarize an author’s key points and plot.

After the plot has been laid down, a different table may be created to outline important details about the characters involved in the books and the themes revolving within the story. Another additional section can be created where relevant researches are placed for easier retrieval.

Link to the website: https://blog.reedsy.com/how-to-outline-a-book/

3. POST-IT Note Outline Method

One of the most creative ways to outline a book, writers use are post-it notes and a blank wall to stick them to. This method is commonly taught in several self-publishing schools.

Authors are encouraged to always carry a pad of post-its. This is to make sure that whenever a brilliant idea comes to mind, like a plot for the book perhaps, then you don’t run the risk of forgetting it. Authors can simply jot down their ideas quickly and when they get to their designated writing wall, they can simply post the idea and see where it fits best in the overall plot.

This is a very good method since authors can write their ideas and inspirations as it hits them and in any random order or time of day.

This method may be used best when writing a novel.

Link to the website: http://writeonsisters.com/writing-craft/outlining-method-3-the-wall-of-sticky-notes-aka-the-board/

4. SKELETAL Book Outline Method

This method is pretty much like writing a term paper or thesis. All you have to do is layout in your narrative points on how the plots will unfold, in the order that it will appear in your story. This usually involves a broad 7-step story arch.

The skeletal outline allows the writer to see the big picture of the entire idea of the flow of their story. Adjustments are made easier since they can simply add subplots anywhere they think is right, to achieve maximum impact of the storyline.

Link to the website: https://allfreelancewriting.com/use-skeleton-outlines-write-faster/

5. NOVEL Outline Template

There is actually a pre-formatted template available that gives you a good format for writing your novel. This is a proven and tested method that has been used by a lot of authors in the past. There’s no need to worry or to start from scratch. If you are in a bit of a hurry to jump right to the main part of writing, then this method could really be a lifesaver.

All that needs to be done by the author is to fill-in-the-blank novel outline in order to help them develop their desired characters, ideas, and plots.

Link to the website: https://jerichowriters.com/how-to-plot/

6. REVERSE Book Outline Method

It is sometimes helpful to see the situation from a different perspective, from a different angle. Sometimes you may not know where your story is going, how it ends. The Reverse outline might be helpful and it utilizes seeing the novel from the ending.

Starting from the end an outline can be worked on from there. You can work backward to complete your story.

Link to the website: https://clpolk.com/2018/02/25/a-visual-guide-to-a-reverse-outline/

7. FLASHCARDS Book Outline Method

This method was pioneered by  Favell Lee Mortimer, an English author of educational books for children during the 1800s. This method was initially used by Mortimer as a phonic system. Lately, though, more and more writers are using her method as a useful aid in writing their book.

Similar to the post-it notes strategy above, the flashcards outline involves the authors carrying around flashcards everywhere they go.  These cards contain different plots and ideas and can be re-organized easily, with the author’s creativity front and center.

This is a very good method for creating a unique and varied story-line. This method will work well for authors who think using an outline stifles their creativity.

Link to the website: https://mythcreants.com/blog/three-excuses-to-use-office-supplies/

These different methods of outlining a book can help you finally finish writing your book. Each author will find different methods work better than others. Pick a book outline method that attracts you, try it and see if it works for you.

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