How to Write an Outline for a Story, Whatever Form or Genre

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

Let's delve into the building blocks of the writing process to build the story you set out to write.

 
 
Think of a story as a stone thrown unto the face of a lake of very calm water until ripples form narrow wavy rings from the center and spread concentrically wider as they go farther from the center. 
 
Now think of your outline as a look beneath that stone that hit the lake’s surface. I bet you will see it from down to up like a collapsible drinking cup made of airtight rings that fit right to hold the water they contain. 
 
So Why do we make an outline? 
 
Every story has a central theme that is that stone you threw into the lake and its events spiral concentric waves that spread farther from the stone until they finally loose momentum and become one with the serene lake. 
 
In an outline we are planning how to let people get closer to the center starting from the farthest and last wave that got lost in the lake’s surface. In other words you are building their understanding of the underwater world of your idea that sunk in the water like the stone that fell. 
 
So how do we make an outline that works with the story we are writing and the minds that are reading our story?
 
 Well, it’s very simple. 
 
Think of your central theme which is the summary of your plot as the main rod of an umbrella that has bars and cloth ended with hooks attached to it. 
 
The chapters are the bars of this umbrella. The Events are the segments of cloth on those bars. 
 
The characters are the stitches that tie the cloth to the bars. 
 
The timeline checkpoints or places are the ending hooks that fix the end of the cloth to the tip of the bar. 
 
So how do we begin building our umbrella of ideas? 
 
First you summarize your story in one line which is the dilemma it is going to solve. 
 
Then you divide it into 3 parts: 1 the beginning 2 the peak and 3 the resolution. 
 
Now on another paper write your timeline or draw it. 
 
Next you place your events on it and pin your characters on it.
 
Then you group your events to see which fall under which part in the outline. 
 
After that, you tie the events with the characters on a separate sheet and give this new pairing each a title from the theme.
 
Now check your themes list for primary and secondary or branching ones and group them and that’s how you will obtain your chapters’ titles. 
 
Lastly, group your chapters each under the respective part of your outline. 
 
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  Good luck.
 
 
#writingcraft #writershelpingwriters #writerslife #outline #planningyourstory #themes #construction #buildingworlds #insideoutofastory #writing #creativewriting


Submitted: October 16, 2020

© Copyright 2020 pasithea chan. All rights reserved.

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