Made in America

Four Reasons You Should Outline Your Novel

To outline or not to outline? That is the question.

If you’re just starting on your book writing journey but don’t know where to begin, an outline can help.

What’s the point of an outline? An outline is a guide that will help you with the actual writing of your book by thinking through characters, plot ideas and the various nuances of your story and how it needs to come together cohesively.

In a previous blog we offered tips on how to outline your book. Today, we’re offering you four reasons why you should consider an outline.

You’ll know what to write

Outlines can help with productivity. Rather than sitting around thinking what you should write next, you’ll already know what to write before you pick up your pen or turn on your computer. Creating an outline helps you determine the flow of your plot and can help you keep your focus on one idea at a time. If you struggle to find time to write, when you do have the time, don’t waste it scrambling to weave your story together. Instead, refer to your outline and stay on task.

Helps keep ideas flowing

Creating an outline keeps you organized and lays out the flow of your story right in front of your eyes. Think of an outline as a jigsaw puzzle. You begin with lots of pieces and slowly but surely find the pieces that fit. It takes a lot of rearranging but the final product is a finished puzzle. This applies to your book as well. When you outline your story, you’ll see all of the pieces out in front of you. From there, it’s up to you to rearrange and integrate these ideas into your plot in a way that completes the big picture.

Allows you to be a detective

When you create an outline, it morphs you into a Private Eye that investigates the details of your plot. By seeing the flow of your ideas in one outline, you’re able to discover and work through inconsistencies in your storyline. An outline can put the spotlight on your work and illuminate the gaps in your plot that’ll help finesse the flow of your story.

Sheds a light on foreshadowing

If you forgo an outline, you might also forgo a foreshadowing opportunity. Think of it this way: If you’re writing as you go without any guidance, you won’t be able to foreshadow an upcoming event because you won’t know that the event exists.

But if you base your writing on an outline, you’ll be able to see the opportunities where you can naturally incorporate this technique into your writing to enrich your plot.

Outlines can be as simple as a few notes that include the major parts of your story like the plot, theme and characters, or a more complex document that includes in-depth details.

If you’re struggling to get started, outlines are a good resource to help you organize your thoughts so that you can begin your writing journey.

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