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Helpful steps to outline your novel

Old Town, Alabama School House
Old Town, Alabama School House
Angela Christina Archer, Old Town Alabama

Outlining your novel can be really easy, really difficult, or somewhere in between. Every writer who has outlined their novel before starting the first draft has had moments of joy and moments of chaos throughout the process. Following a few simple steps can help ease the discomfort in getting that Best Selling novel from your mind to your computer screen.

BRAINSTORM ~ Because our minds work faster than our fingers, the best way to start is just to start typing. Get all your thoughts out when they pop into your mind. It doesn't matter if they are an organized mess; you will organize them later, but just get it all out-every detail that is pops into your head in the moment it pops in.

TAKE BREAKS ~ In between some of the steps don't forget to take a few breaks. Allowing your mind to focus on something else will help you when you do return to your outline to see any plot holes or even to develop sub plot lines and plot twists to help ad drama and depth to your story.

PLOT YOUR PLOT ~ Once you've gotten all the details out, you can begin to organize them. Start thinking about different scenes for each of the novels' three acts-the beginning, the middle, and the end. Don't forget to add in your inciting incident, plot twist, climax, and ending.

CHARACTERS ~ While you are plotting out the main and sub plots, don't forget to include your character arcs. How you want your characters to think and act in the beginning, how they change and what changes them throughout the story, and how you want them to think and act in the end.

BREAK THE OUTLINE DOWN ~ Once you have your plot and character arcs, you can start breaking down the paragraphs of your outline into chapters.

BE OPEN MINDED ~ One point you always want to remember is to never get too attached to your outline, chapter breaks, scenes, and arcs. Once you get into writing your novel, you might find that the story and characters will take on minds of their own and do things you hadn't planned on when outlining, and that's okay.

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