Professional Plot Outline Mini-Course
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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop
Redraft your manuscript like a pro, with this easy guide. Your free gifts Agent submission builder Get an agent in one hour Indie marketing masterclass A self-publishing essential How to write a novel Your free, expert tutorials Join the list, get your gifts. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Plotting a book is hard Download your FREE plotting worksheets Build a strong underlying story structure Ensure your characters evolve with the plot Make the hardest part of writing that little bit easier.
Thanks for contacting Jericho Writers. The agent submissions builder Write a perfect query letter and a brilliant synopsis. Edit easy, edit fast Redraft your manuscript like a pro, with this easy guide. Does your story come to an emotionally satisfying conclusion? Can you see yourself going through anywhere from ten pages to seven hundred and being happy to see the story end this way?
Rough In Your Middle You have your beginning and your ending. Now we need to add some middle, throw in some neat twists and turns, and give you something so great to work on that you'll be excited about sitting down to work on your book every day. So we're going to build some candy-bar scenes to move you from first word in your story to last.
I've mentioned candy-bar scenes in other articles and workshops. They're my analogy for scenes you can't resist writing your big set piece scenes. In these scenes, your characters will fight battles, save lives or take them, fall into or out of love, meet their enemies in unexpected places, chase or be chased. You don't need to work these out in any great detail.
A line or two to give you something to shoot for is all you need. Even order doesn't matter at this point - that will come as you start fleshing your story out. For example, I know in this story that I'm starting to tell now, I want the following things: a great spaceship dogfight Cadence meets a potential new partner meeting up with Tangerine a character from HTCB run-in with a one of the minions of the stellar-regional underground that ends in a gunfight Cadence sides with the underworld against area law enforcement, which is holding whatever she's after.
A recent acquaintance is murdered in terrible circumstances, and law enforcement arrests Cady The person she suspects of the murder breaks her out of the jail at great personal risk And so on. Every scene I jot down spurs ideas for more scenes. As I run with this, I'll put together enough main scenes to peg into my novel, and then start creating transitional scenes to move me from one "candy-bar scene" to the next.
How many is enough? Depends on what you want to write.
There's no set number for any project, but you need at least three scenes for all but the shortest short stories, and at least one big scene per chapter for novels. A , word novel can have thirty or forty chapters or more with two or three scenes in each. I use ten pages as my scene-length estimate, and either twenty or thirty pages as my chapter-length estimate, and work from there.
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With your beginning and your ending in front of you, sketch in between three and sixty one-line scene ideas. The outline that I get the first time through is subject to revision, cutting, rearranging, and midcourse correction. It's a working documenta tooland as such it is never really finished.
It is a reflection of where the novel is, and where I think it is going, and I usually abandon it completely three-quarters of the way through my book. But it's always there when I need to rethink something. It will be there for you, too.
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A good plot outline can be any dedicated writer's best friend. It's given you a handful of useful tools, an in-progress demonstration of a plot outline in development, and some exercises that you'll find essential in building plot outlines. Please realize, though, that I cannot give you in a dozen pages everything I've learned about plotting.
I can't even scratch the surface. How to make changes in your plot during initial and final revision that will, in most cases, still let you hit your deadlines You'll have fun, you'll make progress, and you'll avoid sandtraps and pitfalls that swallow beginning and pro writers alike. You can do this. Never give up on your dreams,.
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