Writing formal outlines always sounds so stiff and restrictive and are often only useful when we are required to follow a particular order of events. But informal outlines unique to our own writing needs can be a very effective writing tool. An outline will help us to establish and focus on key details related to the plot, setting, and characterization. It can also be a way to prevent writer’s block. Outlines become an excellent resource in the overall process of writing a novel.
Shaelin Writes shares her personal outlining process, typically shaped by the type of storyline she is working on. For a linear storyline, a storyline with multiple points of view, or a story with multiple storylines, her method stays the same: she first writes a summary, then takes the summary and breaks it into chapters. Depending on the plot of her book, she will add one or two more processes to help her stay focused on the task of telling her story.
Shaelin highly recommends an outline as a way to help a writer create a roadmap for their work. You don’t have to follow a particular structure, nor does the outline need to be super detailed, but at the very least, an outline provides an effective guide for your writing and can be useful during the editing process. Watch Shaelin’s video more detail on her process for creating an outline.