HOW TO OUTLINE A NOVEL

HOW TO OUTLINE YOUR NOVEL by Paula Perron

SETTING  Romance, with medical theme- Time winter, I decide to write through Susan’s eyes which are first person.  Susan is main character. – Situation- finish college. Susan wants-career, and not marry Alex.

Example:  Susan, is in her last year of college, when she is involved in a serious automobile accident and placed in a medically induced coma, by Dr. Rand, where she meets John, and falls in love.

EVENT –SUB-PLOT 1  Example: When awakened from induced Coma, she no longer dreams of John. She believes he is not a figment of her imagination, but a real person, and is determined to find him.

EVENT- SUB-PLOT 2   Example: Susan’s mother wants her to drop college and marry Alex, the boy next door, because he is wealthy. After release from hospital, Susan needs therapy and must return home for continual care. She fears not being able to graduate and continue to pay for her education..

EVENT-SUB-PLOT 3  Example: She leaves home, without advising mother, and returns to apartment she shares with Helen, her roommate, intending to return to classes.  After advising Helen of her financial circumstances, and her desire to find John, Helen volunteers to help.  They search but do not find John.

EVENT-CLIMAX   Example: Susan faces the fact she is unable to find John, and must go on with her plans to graduate and earn her Masters.  At the suggestion of Dr. Rand, she agrees to continue physical and psychological therapy at the hospital.

EVENT RESOLUTION:  Example: During her last session with Dr. Rand, she learns he is instrumental in her quick recovery due to an experimental treatment, and agrees to allow him to publish his findings. At graduation, she receives unexpected financial help to complete her education, and learns where John is.

HINTS:  It is important to show how your main character changes from beginning to end.

Create excitement by emphasizing incidents that will change everything for main character.

Metaphors can be a powerful description. Use them.

Remember to build tension to the highest point (see sketch), and then dropping to lowest point by revealing character’s disappointment. This will lead to climax and a resolution that will satisfy your reader.

NOTE FROM AUTHORNot all writers use an outline. Some allow characters to guide them by their actions. However, many believe an outline of your story will keep you on the correct path and not allow you to deviate from your plot.

GOOD LUCK, PAULA