How to Write a Book Outline

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Outlining your book is not only a huge help, but for most writers, it’s a key element in the writing process. Some writers choose to make an outline before they begin their first draft, while others, like me, wait until the second or third draft to lay out all the scenes in their book.

Today, I cover what important scene types are in a book and how to lay them all out. Here is a brief overview of what the video covers:

Terms to Know

“Action” scenes – pushes the plot forward

“Character” scenes – gives information or development

“Information” scenes – gives reader insight to what is going on

“Filler” scenes – not necessary for the reader to know, but gives a break from action and still adds to the story

Things to Note

Scenes can be more than one scene type

Fillers must add to story or character

Add notes to each scene – what characters are in the scene, and brief description to stay organized

Review the outline for every draft

Feel free to change things

Sample Outline

  1. Action
    • Introduce the problem
  2. Information 
    • Important info for the reader to know to continue the book 
    • *Must have for High Fantasy 
  3. Character 
    • Show main character’s personality. Draw interest  
  4. Filler 
    • Must have a point, especially the first filler. 
  5. Character 
    • Possibly add a new main character
  6. Action/Information 
    • Remind that the plot is important 
  7. Action (optional)
  8. Character 
    • All characters are important! 
  9. Filler
    • Short scene to avoid losing interest in the action
  10. Action
    • Add new interest in the plot
  11. Information
    • Review the new interest to make it important
  12. Character/Filler
    • What are the characters feeling?
  13. Action, lead up to resolve 
    • What is the best outcome?
  14. Filler/Information/Character 
    • What else is going on in their life besides the plot? (You can still mention the plot though!) 
  15. Action 
    • Intense action 
  16. Character 
    • Characters’ thought process through climax
  17. Action, climax 
    • The point of the book. By all means, throw expectations out the window 
  18. Action, resolve 
    • The outcome after the climax
  19. Character 
    • What is going on after the dust has settled?
  20. Filler 
    • Wrap up any minor questions 
  21. Action (optional) 
    • In a series, hint at the next book