Where to start once an idea for a lengthy novel comes to mind? I must admit the idea germinated from a visit to Hastings, Michigan. Then Maris Soule, a fellow MMRWA member, wrote about first fleshing out her MC (main character) and the importance of a believable villain. I had written a short story, “Different Views” after my visit to Hastings as well as an essay on my research called “Hastings Pudding.”
The villain was partially revealed in the short story, the setting of Hastings, Michigan was somewhat researched, and of course the MC is always me in one guise or another. I hastily write a story arc starting with a Prologue then jump into the middle of the story. The climbing tension scenes are topped off with a Black Moment and then the final resolution is envisioned.
To keep my scenes in order, I immediately outline the entire novel. Then I paste it into a new novel document and start writing scene by scene. I use a generic outline saved on my computer which incorporates significant rules of presentation which I gleaned from the twenty or so writing conference workshops I have attended, as well as books on writing by Elizabeth George and Michael Hauge. If you are interested, here is my starting-point outline.
Scene: Ann Arbor THAD* Conversion Romance
CREATION: BLANK PAGE
0%-10% Stage I: SETUP Fully in False Identity
Chapter One 1-15
- Main Character (POV)
- PP #1
EXODUS: HEROINE’S JOURNEY
Turning Point #1 10% Opportunity
LAW: LEGAL OR PUBLISHING CRITERIA
10%-25% Stage II NEW SITUATION Glimpses True Essence
Chapter Two 16-26
Place: Asks the Lord
Chapter Three 27-37
Clue #2 QMC and desire to do the Lord’s will.
WISDOM: WHAT DOES THE HERO LEARN
Turning Point #2 Change of Plans 25% to 50% Stage III PROGRESS Vacillates between false identity and true essence
Chapter Four 38-47
Place: PP #3 Prays for guidance.
Chapter Five 48-61
Place: Clue #3
Place: Clue #4
Turning Point #3 Point of No Return 50%-75% Stage IV: COMPLICATIONS & HIGHER STAKES Fully in essence but reverts one final time
Chapter Six 62-77
Chapter Seven 78-91
Place: . PP #4 Clue #5.
Chapter Eight 92-105
Place: PP #5
Chapter Nine 106-116
TRUTH: WHAT IS THE TRUTH
Turning Point #4 Black Moment Major Setback 75%-90% Stage V: FINAL PUSH Returns to true essence
Chapter Ten 117-126
Chapter Eleven 127-137
APOCALYPS: READERS CHEER FOR HERO
Turning Point #5 Climax 90-100 % Stage VI AFTERMATH Transformed essence
Place: PP #7
I’d be interested in your comments. As a self-published author, I’m still willing to learn other methods of writing.
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3 Replies to “IWSG: Outline for My Novels”
Such marvelous detail, Rohn! A nice way for you to stay on track. I’m too much of a pantser, I’m afraid.
I always find it interesting to see how other writers work. I’m afraid I’m not that organized, sometimes to my dismay, but I do usually write out some kind of synopsis before starting a new story. Which is always subject to change. Whatever works for each of us and gets the story written.
Wow… you are very detailed with your outline. I’m a pantser and write from beginning to end with a rough outline (more of a summary) and let the characters go. It’s nice to see another way. Thanks!
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