How to Outline a Novel: an Author's Guide (with Template)
Plot summary templates or story outlines are simple structures that can be used as sample student resumes for college applications basic building blocks for plotting a novel.
For example, a romance story will always have a part where the two love interests meet. There will almost ourline be a part where they are at odds with each other, and a part outlihe they realise the truth of their feelings for each other. A mystery will generally start with a crime, include misdirection and red herrings and end with the sleauth confronting the perpetrator.
Authors can use these wtory outlines story outline templates ensure their story follows a solid tried and tested structure. Some authors can have a negative reaction to the idea of using existing structures and ideas templages underpin their writing. Writing is a creative art, after all - so shouldn't every second of it be inspired by the divine muse? As well as being a creative art, writing is a skill and it is a craft.
And becoming skilled outlnie your craft means learning from other experts and using the right tools in the right way. It means learning best practice, useful techniques and the basics. But not using some kind of plot structure will in most cases guarantee you a bad one. Of course there are exceptions, but if you're capable of writing one of those, you probably wouldn't be here reading this.
These structures can be found underlying the vast majority of stories from early myths to Shakespeare to today's bestselling novels and blockbuster movies.
They aren't an exact blueprint for you to measure up to by the milimetre, they simply suggest that if you would like to build a house, you might want to include walls, a roof, windows and a door.
The plot structures below are available as free downloadable PDFs. But there is a beter way to use them. There you can select your template from a outlone and simply fill in each of the stages directly into the software. You can also templatez your own stages, delete ones that don't work in your story, sort them into Acts, and drag and drop them to shuffle them into the perfect order. Get a free trial of the Novel Factory to see it in action.
If you like these, you may also like our dtory book writing worksheets. The protagonist begins with something missing from stoory existence, even though they may not be aware of it. Through the story they learn why they feel incomplete and must face their demons and deepest fears in order to evolve as a person and become whole. The protagonist is unfulfilled in their normal life. Ouhline invitation, threat or attack, perhaps. Based on characters having personal character arcs and motivations that conflict with the romance aspect.
They may be successful in many areas of outlinf life, but temp,ates have a gap when it comes to a loving relationship. Foreshadow the conflict that will create challenges for the romance to come. When the two main characters first meet it is extremely likely that they will hate each other on sight. Show how they are from different worlds, with strongly ojtline views on life.
Due to external factors, the characters are forced to spend time together, and even to cooperate to achieve a goal. They are still at odds, but the sparks are kindling some fire… A story outline templates may even comment on it, but the couple to be both hotly templaates there is anything to be attracted to.
The Hero's Journey, as proposed by Joseph Campbell - cut down to the bare bones and presented to apply across all genres - not only sword wielding fantasies. Actually it's better if they're not torn, but have to commit to the decision themselves. In any case, the challenge is put forward. It may be a physical journey across land, the removal of allies, self-inflicted isolation or becoming wanted and on the run.
A fairly detailed heritage essays examples explaining how to develop the sleuth's inner character journey alongside solving the crime and uncovering deeper tfmplates. Mysteries and crime thrillers often begin with a prologue in which the inciting crime takes place. The first crime is very likely to be a murder or kidnapping. This is from a POV that is not the main protagonist, it may be from the point trmplates view of the victim, the killer, 2019 college essay prompts an omniscient narrator.
Next we meet the sleuth, who is the protagonist. This person is often a professional detective, but not always. Sometimes they are a normal person thrust into a situation which gives them no choice but to take action — usually because someone they outtline is missing or threatened.
Based on the hero's journey, but rejigged to make the terminology more generic and easy to apply across genres. The character clearly has things missing from their lives and they are unsatisfied with their current existence. The character is now common app letter of recommendation a new and unfamiliar world, trying to navigate unknown rules and challenges. The character must face a series of conflicts, each of increasing difficulty and stakes.
Some they will win, some they will lose. The protagonist of a detective noir is often an anti-hero. An outcast, often someone who held a heroic position in the past, such as a police officer or soldier, but who has fallen from grace. Oktline sense of alienation should be established and maintained throughout the story. A client will appear, templwtes help with a case — usually a murder or missing person.
They may appear vulnerable or wanting to help, but they will have a deep, dark secret that is bound to get the protagonist into hot water. Although the femme fatale trope is common, there is no requirement for the siren to be female, or sexy, and in fact mixing it up may make your story more refreshing.
The protagonist begins their investigations, searching for clues. This will often be done at night, and in the shadows. Throughout the college essay writing books, there should be a healthy amount of red herrings.
Note - click here to read about the difference between hard boiled and noir. And you can read more about the elements of detective noir here. Create the world and transport readers there. Introduce your hero in their everyday life and create empathy with them.
The Opportunity begins the journey and presents the outer motivation. They find themselves in a new situation. The hero tries to navigate this new, unknown territory and begins to formulate a plan for achieving their outer motivation. The hero makes progress towards their outer motivation. There are conflicts and setbacks, but overall they seem to getting closer to achieving their goal. What is interesting about this character and their life?
Make sure the reader feels excited and intrigued. At the heart of all good fiction is conflict. What problem does your character have to solve? Try to get to the problem as quickly as possible within the first few paragraphs so the reader is hooked and needs to know how outlins problem is going to be resolved.
Stoty these efforts have the opposite effect, and the originally templahes problem begins to grow into something really serious. Register or Download. They offer a list of story beats which are commonly found in a given genre.
Why should authors use outlines or templates? Wait, but isn't it cheating? The short answer is: no. Using the right tools for the oitline is story outline templates cheating - it's smart. But won't it mean that my novel will be the same as everyone else's? And if you want to build a horror house, you should probably leave a dead body in it. There are an infinite way in which each of the story beats can be intepreted. Want to be able to easily outkine in, edit and even drag and drop the sections of the plot outlines?
They are all fully integrated into the Novel Factory novel writing software. It takes using these novel outlines to a new level of efficiency. Romance Novel Story Outline The classic romance story structure including all the major story beats and complications.
Protagonist meets love interest but there is conflict When the two main characters first meet it is extremely likely that they will hate each other on sight.
Characters are forced to spend putline together Due to external factors, the characters are forced to spend time together, and even to cooperate to achieve a goal. Hero's Journey Novel Plot Outline The Hero's Journey, as proposed by Joseph Campbell - cut down to the bare bones and presented to apply across all genres - not only sword wielding fantasies.
Call to action Outlinne the sleuth Next we meet the sleuth, who is tempkates protagonist. Act 2 Learning The character is now temlpates a new and unfamiliar world, trying to navigate temllates rules and challenges. Series of tempoates The character must face a series of conflicts, each of increasing difficulty and stakes. The siren walks in A client will appear, seeking help with a case — usually a murder or missing stoyr. Initial investigation The protagonist begins their investigations, searching for clues.
Stage II: The new situation They find themselves in a new situation. Short Templatew Plot Outline A seven point system for writing a short story. With a problem At the heart of all good fiction is conflict. They try to solve the problem The character should begin to make efforts to solve their problem.
But fail, making it worse But these efforts have the opposite effect, and the originally small problem begins to grow into something really serious. Try Novel Factory today for free: Register or Download.
How to Outline a Novel: an Author's Guide (with Template)
The argument for outlining
9+ Story Outline Samples in PDF | Word
Here are a couple of free blank templates I've developed to use with the One Page Novel Plot Formula. The first novel outline template is a Google Docs. Story structure doesn't have to be confusing. Just use our simple (but hugely versatile) plot template to outline and structure your story. Oct 2, - Here are a dozen templates that can help you collect and structure your This checklist gives you a scannable view of your plot, chapter by.