Outlining a Novel V

Freelance Writer & Editor

Welcome to Part V of my little series on how I outline novels. I don’t claim this is the only way, or even the best way.

I first created a 1-sentence synopsis, 1 paragraph blurb, and 4 paragraph summary. I then created half-page to full-page bios of the main and secondary characters stated or suggested by the 4-paragraph summary. The bios provide me with all the ammunition I need to create an outline that makes full use of the characters’ quirks, goals and flaws. It is the clash of these conflicting goals and personalities that inspire much of the plot and character growth/change. By the end of the book (or book 3, in a trilogy), each character will face a twist and one side of their conflicted nature or the other will be fully realized (ideally).

In developing the outline, I estimate 24 chapters for a 80-100k novel. The process…

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