How To Write a Simple Outline That Sells

I’m taking a course and during one of the orations the basic outline was addressed. I won’t share specific details because I don’t want to be called a thief—but I will share the impact it had on me.

the best outline is shared as if you’re telling a story around a campfire.

Every outline I’ve ever done considered too many points:

  • frog-47683The goal of the antagonist
  • The goal of the protagonist
  • When to slip in clues, and red herring and what device to use for each
  • When should the victim die and how
  • A detailed relationship chart between characters, their motives, opportunities, and ability to kill the victim

I have to push my so called framework away from the forefront, and focus on what I love best…

telling my story.

The funny thing is we all know how to do that. So the next time you try to explain what you are writing about, record it. It could be the outline you’ve been looking for.

What method works best for you? I’d love to know.

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33 responses to “How To Write a Simple Outline That Sells

  1. I like that–telling a story around the campfire. So true.

  2. I don’t really know yet. I like several methods that I have tried but not sure which is for me yet. I like Holly Lisle’s method best so far but cannot say a lot since it is her work and method.

    I also like
    Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker

    Writing by the Seat of Your Pants by Elle Clous

    The Snow Flake Method Created by Randy Ingermanson

    Save The Cat using beats by Blake Snyder

    Video–Intro to “How We Use Scrivener to Plan Books (and Story Beats)” video series Johnny Truant, Sean Platt and Dave Wright known for Write, Publish, Repeat book.

    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

  3. So is telling it around the campfire a first rough draft approach to the words down?

  4. Ha, I get all sorts of confusing when I tell people about my story, especially since I’m working on book 2 in a series and a lot of it relates back to book 1. I’ve found I don’t articulate well verbally. My fingers do a much better job.

  5. Good point. We need to just get the story down first. Or at least in outline form.

  6. This is helpful. I’ll save it under my writing bookmarks.

  7. I don’t share my outline with others much, but when I have, I usually put in too much backstory.

  8. I’m with Loni. I don’t explain my story well verbally, either. I usually just hand people the book card and let them read the blurb. As far as outlining goes, I know the beginning, the end, and a handful of scenes that will happen in the middle somewhere. The rest gets made up as I go along. That probably wouldn’t work very well with mystery writing.

  9. Thanks to twitter funny enough I think I’ve reached my best level of summarizing what my stories are about. No one wants to read twenty tweets.

  10. I’ll definitely be using the fireside story idea. Thanks, Anna. 🙂

  11. I have a hard time telling what my story is about. I’m much better with writing with a pen than my own mouth. But thanks for sharing as I’ll try to remember it and maybe might actually be able to, gasp.

  12. jennifer@badbirdreads

    Great 5 points.

  13. Are you talking about an outline to guide you as you write the story, or more like a synopsis? What works for me when I write is eschewing all outlines, but then crafting the synopsis later is absolute hell.

    • My outline focuses less on plot points and more on how the MC attempts to deal with them. I’ve reworked my simple outline several times and each time I getting closer to a polished synopsis.

  14. Pingback: Outlines, Writing, and Rewriting | elements of emaginette

  15. Pingback: 7 NaNo Tips To Help You Win | elements of emaginette

  16. Pingback: Author Toolbox 4: Discover The Layers Of A Story | elements of emaginette

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