Saturday, August 6, 2011

How to Outline Your Next Novel

One of the single biggest questions asked of any author is "did you outline?" If you ask three different authors this question, it's one of those times where you will get five answers, all of them different. It's one of my favorite questions to ask at any panel, just to prove a point: there is no single right way to write a novel. Everyone does it differently. The point is learning your own style. Sometimes this means following in another's footsteps, and sometimes this means muddling through on your own.

If you do want to outline, how should you begin? I have come across more than a hundred blog posts and articles discussing the merits of outlining or letting your characters have their heads and run freely, but not very many on how to actually outline. If you need a how-to, check out one of these wonderful websites:
  • Randy Ingermanson's "Snowflake Method". This theoretical physicist designed this method for growing your novel. It has step-by-step detail on how to outline, as well as a link to software that you can purchase.
  • Creative Writing Now's "How to Make a Novel Outline". Here you can find a simple method, tips and dangers, and worksheets for novel, character and scene development.

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