Behold, Thine Outlines

So, last week I did this BIG DAMN POST about blah blah blah NaNoWriMo is coming up so this is NaPloYoNoMo (National Plot Your Novel Month), which means you should at least try some kind of outline. And in this post I detailed for you a wide variety of outlines that go well-beyond the school-era Roman numeral parade.

I also warned you I was going to ask to see your work.

Well, here I am.

Asking to see your work.

*shocks you with a shock-prod*


By asking, I mean, demanding.


So, if you please? Show us your work.


If you tried your hand at an outline, any outline, any kind of plotting at all, it’d be very snazzy and nifty and spiffy (aka snifftzy) if you showed us how it was going.

If you care to share, of course.

And you do care to share.

Because I have a shock-prod.




(Easiest way to share your work is to drop it in a post of your own, and then give us a link here in the comments so we can all visit and ooh and ahh and offer comments.)

69 responses to “Behold, Thine Outlines”

    • Well, Mozette, I’m sold. The Book Jacket style of your outline was very easy to digest though left a lot blank, leaving us wanting more. I Want More! My outline is nowhere near as succinct or digestible. I worry that I’ve both gone into too much detail and made it too vague. D:

        • This why I hate blogger. I tried three times to post a comment and it wouldn’t. This last one I saved, so I’ll post it here:

          I think you can benefit by putting more form to your concepts. You have some ideas, and the bones of the story, how it winds out is not so clear. Why is this guy so important that the CEO of a company spends some much in resources on him? What kind of high value targets are worth the investment to get this guy up and running. What’s the word count? What’ the plan for bringing this story to life? Just things to think about. 🙂

          • This is why I didn’t put in too much of the story… it’s an outline; not a synopsis. This is kind of what would go on the back cover of a book.

            I haven’t edited it completely, so I’m not sure about the word count as yet. That’s another year or so away… but I’ve loved writing it; as the ideas from writing this have been fun to come across.

            And the questions you have are answered in the books. 😀

            But thank you so much for your comment, I appreciate useful criticism; it goes a long way in helping me with my writing. 🙂

  1. it is the time of overload. of more options than time and possibly less ability to decide among them. as for me, the big art show I organized with 15 artists and 3 musical groups had a great opening and I’m in recovery to do it all again next weekend. what I’m considering investing in is Dragon software or some other software that does the typing while I talk. So if anyone out there has had success with that software I’d like to know about it. After all, to do good one must actually DO something.

    • Dragon works well. Spend sometime training it, invest in a quality headset / microphone, and you’ll have few headaches. I used it recently on a long solo road trip and was quite pleased with it’s performance. Dialogue can trip it up a bit here and there but it’s pretty good, even when there is a decent amount of Cabin noise.

    • I like Dragon Software, but be prepared to spend a good deal of time configuring it to your voice. It’s possible to pick your region within the US, but you may still need to fine tune it. I picked the Southern dialect when I was configuring my program, but since there’s a wide diversity of accent within the “South” I still had to spend several hours until the program understood me all the time. Then I discovered that my “storytelling voice” has a different intonation entirely! It was worth it, though, because I have several arthritic flareups a year, and typing becomes impossible. Dragon software gets me through NaNoWriMo every year.

  2. Here’s my outline for “Ninjas of the 512”:

    I usually send people the first one I mention in this blog post if they want to see what a finished outline looks like, after they read my book, “Confessions of a 3-Day Novelist.” But I also included what my outline looked like at various stages of the brainstorming, plot finagling, and actual writing process so you can see how things progressed.

    BONUS: I also included a link to Lester Dent’s Master Plot Formula, which really helped shape my thoughts on outlining.


    • Holy wow, I didn’t even know post its came in that many colors! I’m feeling like I need to do something a bit more… physical? with an outline than just typing away on a computer, maybe I will try something like that…

  3. I am still working on a proper outline ( I am trying to use the ‘book jacket’ method, but the final text is not as catchy as I want it to be yet – damn, I am even like that during the outlining process! – I do have all the main points noted though ), so what I have been doing is tracking my progress, sources of inspiration, etc, to help keep me motivated. If any of you want to have a look and share/exchange opinions: I will be having a look at the links here too. This is a huge challenge for me, and my first time trying NaNoWrimo. Good luck to all!

  4. God I don’t want to get shocked Mr. Wendig….oh wait maybe I do………no no, I don’t….

    This was the outline I started for the write a short story to someone else’s title challenge. So the outline started as the guide to a short story, where I really wanted to work with structure of a short story. Instead what came out was so large and had so many questions it seemed to suggest a novel. arghhhh this was perfect timing cause damn I got a lot to work out….

    • I like how you made a good stab at putting together a story. It has potential. Overall I’d say the pacing is a little off. A BFU moment works better in the first 25%, so when you are putting together the novel, think about that.

    • I already like Mia, because she is a biochemistry student. G6P FTW!

      Brief thoughts, since it’s a book jacket and not a full outline:
      -Not sure whether it’s worth mentioning the detail of the car breaking down on the book jacket, since it doesn’t seem to tie in to the bigger picture as it stands.
      -Also not sure how the fact that Kate’s friends sound European factors into the big picture of the book jacket.
      -“A bizarre rabbit hole” is very vague; not sure as a reader I would keep reading. Although I am curious whether “taxing all her skills” refers to her biochem knowledge? That’s the only “skill” we’d know of her having based on the rest of the text. It might be better to be clearer about how exactly Mia will be challenged, especially if biochemistry is not what you meant.

      Hope that’s helpful — thanks for sharing yours, and good luck with the plot mapping! (IT’S SO HARRRRD) (BUT YOU CAN DOOOOO IIIIT)

    • I’d suggest Queen of the River… but that sounds like a casino! What a dilemma. I like your outline, Aimee. It’s descriptive, to the point, and doesn’t leave anything out. Did you come up with the question format or get it from somewhere? I think I’ll try it out. I don’t know if it’s just more descriptive, but a lot more seems to happen in Act III than the previous two. Act III is usually where the climax and the falling action take place but it looks like things ramp up instead. That’s probably not what happens, but that’s the impression the outline gives me. Great work. Can’t wait to read this one!

      • That’s a great idea, Beth. Thank-you!

        I’m planning on writing it in four sections; each brother gets his own.

        I’ve just finished the rough draft of Rand (the oldest brother who starts it off).

        We’ll see how it works out.

        You’ve been quite busy taking the time to read so many outlines and offer feedback.
        You rock!!

  5. Less of an outline and more of a timeline because while I have an idea of how the beats go from having drafted this one a couple times before, I’ve had more problems with integrating history (mostly because middle of Nano is no time to do research) so, Aeon Timeline + notes fields + advance research = timeoutline!

    Timeout line. Hm.

    • I’m a planster, so I have an outline for my current story which I stick to with semi-accuracy…but to give away that would give away the story.
      Oh, you mean the other sort of outline? See my other comment above. I don’t really know the whens and hows because I don’t know if I’ll be doing it this year. I may just be editing frantically (yes, my story is almost at that point! Eeee!)

    • I hear you! I started outlining because I don’t have time to actually write (that is to say, I’m writing A LOT, it’s just that I’m writing stupid ASSIGNMENTS and not the story I want to be working on) and I wanted to keep it simmering in the back of my head till the end of the semester.

      (Locked post, for reasons described therein, password is just the title of the post)

    • I’d say that juggling four POV’s is quite a challenge for a first novel. I’ve juggled up to three and I tell you constructing a novel from that many voices in your head is a big bit of bread to bite. Not that it can’t be done. But a challenge. 🙂

      • I am starting to realize how tricky it is, but the story just kept growing in my head, and I’d like to try and tell the whole thing. Hopefully I can manage it.

        Thanks for the feedback and for taking the time to comment on so many posts.

  6. Well, here is my mess… or at least pieces of it.

    I plot scenes, chapters, character arcs while I’m working in the kitchen on what ever paper I have on hand, generally void invoices. Recently, I started using old chart recorder wheels to map character relationships. They’re fantastic! Writing on round things is rather fun.

  7. One of the reasons I love Scrivener is that I can outline or just go for it and outline it later. My current WIP is broken into 5 parts and a Epilogue. I write in scenes, defined as people in a place at a time, and then I can organize them later into chapters and parts and what not. Currently im using the labels to denote PoV characters.

  8. Am I in time??

    This is based on something David Corbett gave me, via Litreactor, on what he called “the unique structure of a love story”. It’s not very fancy or interactive, just a straight-up plot outline, but it’s a work in progress, too, as there are still some question marks over certain sections. I’m submitting this exactly as I wrote it, unedited. Your thoughts and comments would be greatly appreciated…

  9. I have a notebook full of… well, notes. I used hints to plan factions and interactions gleaned from a workshop by David Keener on Creating Adaptive Settings. Since I’m also world-building, this has spawned all sorts of questions as well as ideas. I alternate between “I’m ready for this” and “I’ll be stuck on day 2.”

    Oh – I also have a beat sheet downloaded, word count entered, working title entered, the rest blank. But I still have today to plan!

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