Resources and tips for the self-published author.

#Indiechat Recap – How to Outline Your Novel in 5 Steps

by Christi Sheehan •  January 28, 2016  •   Follow

Published in Publishing Tips  •  No comments

At our last indiechat, award-winning author and writing adviser, K.M. Weiland, shared her five step process for outlining your novel.

Her tips redefined what it means to outline your story and debunked common misconceptions around this helpful writing strategy. After all, who knew that outlining could spur bouts of creativity?!

Dive into the mind of this industry expert in our recap, and find out how outlining can change the way you approach writing. You can also find the complete conversation here.

Step #1: Refine Your Premise.

Craft the existing ideas for your story into “premise sentences.” These sentences should include the basic elements of your story’s world.

Step #2: Compile Your “General Sketches”

Write down all your ideas without judgement. Look for plot holes, and focus on answering key questions.

Step #3: Create Your Character Sketches

Use an “interview” approach to create your characters’ backstories and deepen the plot. 

Step #4: Write Your Extended Outline

Focus on plotting out the details of your story sans dialogue and narrative. 

Step #5: List Your Abbreviated Outline

Create an abbreviated outline that provides the details of your story in a concise format. You can refer to this outline whenever you sit down to write.

K.M. Weiland also provided interesting insight on the most common misconceptions authors make regarding the outlining process:

Thank you to K.M. Weiland for her thoughtful advice on making the outlining process easier! You can found the complete archive of the indiechat here.



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About Christi Sheehan

Christi Sheehan joins the ranks of Bibliocrunch from her previous position as an Assistant Editor at Oxford University Press. She was graduated from Marist College with a degree in English (with a concentration in Writing) in 2012. Since then, Christi completed a number of social media and editorial internships. She currently works as a book reviewer for In her free time, Christi enjoys reading (primarily books in the mystery, literary fiction, and poetry genres), writing, singing, unabashedly watching the Real Housewives series on Bravo while on the elliptical, teaching swim classes at her local Y, and kicking her boyfriend’s butt in P90X classes at her local gym. You can follow her daily musings about life and books at her twitter handle, @ChristiShee.