Thirty Minute Novel Outlining Exercise
1. At the start of your book, what distinguishes your protagonist from other people? What central strength does he/she have? How does this strength get him/her into trouble?
2. When the novel opens, what is s/he on the brink of doing? Why does s/he say she's going to do this? What does the action represent for the protagonist?
3. What external situation will require the protagonist's participation thoughout the course of the book? How does this connect with #2? Does it help or interfere? Can you build in a deadline for extra tension?
4. What is the protagonist's goal for the time the book covers? How does this connect with the external situation? Or does the external situation divert the protagoinist from his/her goal? Why does the protagonist SAY s/he wants the goal to be? Is there a deeper motivation as yet unknown to him/her?
5. What problem (external conflict) does the external situation present? How can the protagoinist eventually resolve that conflict?
6. List at least three obstacles in the way of her resolving this conflict. Make one an internal obstacle/conflict.
7. How will the protagonist grow because of confronting these obstacles?
8. What do you want to happen at the end of the book?
9. What will have to happen to the protagonist against his/her will to make your ending come about?
To me this is not as overwhelming as an actual outline, plus I think it will help me to firm up my plotline.
Also at our meeting Kristy C. (MMW) told us about FREE software that helps you outline your novel.
I'm hoping this tutorial shows up. If not you can watch it on the link above. It sounds really good. You can make the outline as in depth as you want. I may even give it a try. I will have to let you know if this pantser can actually be converted to outlining!
Do you have any tips about outlining? Share your thoughts in the comments.