How To Write A Novel Outline – Writing A Book Outline

How To Outline A Story Or Novel

For this post, I chose a video that explains how to outline a story. Some authors miss out on this important step and try to just write by the seat of their pants. It can work (John Grisham did it) but for most of us mere mortal writers, planning the structure of our novel with a clear outline is vital to it’s flow and success.

How To Outline A Story – 3 Acts : 9 Blocks : 27 Chapters

Hello – different kind of video today. This is a computer screen recording, so I didn’t have to brush my hair, and you guys don’t have to look at me. Win-win! I’m going to outline my NaNoWriMo novel later today and I wanted to do a quick run-through of my outlining process beforehand, so I don’t have to try to explain it whilst outlining.

How To Outline A Story pdf

I did a video like this last year that is called ‘9 blocks in the plot board’ or something along those lines and it goes over all this stuff. I wanted to do an updated, more coherent version so I made a slideshow presentation. Now I will talk you guys through the three-act, 9 block 27 chapter, outlining process that I’ve been using to outline all of my novels lately.

I did not invent story structure and I make no claims that this is the best and/or only way to outline. This is one of many different methods and this method is still like a work in progress. If you want to use this 27 chapter structure, that would be awesome.

I hope you let me know how it works for you and if you have any ideas for changes or refining certain points. Definitely let me know because, like I said, this is still a work in progress and I’m still trying to figure this thing out. So 3 act structure is the base of this. I like 3 act structure because it makes a lot of sense to me.

You know, beginning, middle, end – straightforward. It’s also familiar because you know most things in life have a beginning, a middle and an end. In writing a three-act structure, the beginning, middle, and end translates into setup, conflict, resolution. The first act is setup, the second act is conflict, and the third act is resolution, but it also goes deeper.

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Each act will also have its own set up, conflict and resolution, and this pattern of set up, conflict, resolution will constantly appear. Each arc within the story will have a set up, a conflict, resolution. Each chapter, each scene beginning, middle, end – set up, conflict, resolution.

Act one is the set up act. The general point of act 1 is to set up everything for the rest of the story but within act one, this set of act there is, of course, a beginning, a middle, and an end. The setup to Act one is introducing the hero, the hero’s ordinary world and the problem that will disrupt the hero’s ordinary world.

The conflict is how the inciting incident changes the hero’s life. The resolution to this setup and concept combination, is that the hero’s life has changed and the hero is pushed into a new world. Act two is the conflict Act. This act is usually harder to pin down and describe because it will change drastically for every story you know.

Introductions are straightforward. You introduce what you’ll be working with. Endings are also pretty straightforward. You need to resolve everything you introduced from the beginning. If the first act is the stuff happening to the hero, and the last act is the hero taking action and resolving the story, then the middle is the hero’s emotional and mental transformation.

The hero at the end of act 1 is not yet equipped to handle act 3, thus act 2. Within act 2 we of course have a set up, a conflict and a resolution. The set up is the hero experiencing the new world they were pushed into from the first act.

The conflict is the hero experiencing a crisis of this new world and evolving and changing. The resolution of the second act is the hero being transformed and dedicating themselves to finding the solution to the problems they face.

The third act is where everything falls apart and goes to hell and gets put back together again. In the first act, you introduce the problems. In the second act you play around with the problems, and in the final act you resolve those problems. The setup of the third act is, you have a dedicated transform hero who faces such crazy problems that victory seems impossible.

The conflict of this act is the hero working harder than ever to overcome these struggles and find the power within themselves to take action and complete their story. And finally, the resolution is the solution to all this. In many stories this means the hero goes to battle, wins and thus resolves all of their problems.

Obviously, not every story is the hero winning and succeeding, but even if the hero fails, the problems must still be resolved. Most, if not all the questions still need to be answered. I’m personally a happy ending kind of girl, so I don’t really have much experience with failing hero resolutions. In my version the hero wins – hooray, go hero!

how to outline a short storyNow we have three acts and three parts within each of those acts and that leaves us with what I call the nine blocks. The first act has introductions, the effect of the inciting incident and the pinch or the plot twist, and the push into the second act.

The second act has the hero experiencing the new world which contrasts with their old world. The midpoint, which is the point of reversal for the hero, the point where they stop letting things happen to them and decide to take action.

Then the hero beginning to take action and dedicating themselves to finding a solution. Then in the third act we have the second plot twist pinch. The hero is more determined than ever but then something bigger than ever gets in the way to deter them. This leads to the darkest moment where things look bleak and impossible.

The hero must find the power within themselves take action and make all the different strings of plot converge and combine. Then you have the big battle the climax in the resolution. These are the nine blocks. Now I take the nine blocks and give each of those a beginning, middle and end, and that is how I end up with a 20-7 chapter outline base.

how to outline a story or novelThe act one set a block is the introduction, the inciting incident and the immediate reaction of the inciting incident. The second block is divided into chapters, of like a long term reaction how this will continually affect the hero’s life. The hero taking action because this far just stuff has been happening to them and begging to stand up for themselves.

Then of course there is a consequence to taking action. For the third block of act one we have rising pressure and stress the hero’s life is changing. Change is scary and then – BAM – the first plot twist or the pinch. Something happens that the hero can no longer ignore or even try to ignore. They are being pushed into this new direction whether they like it or not.

Act two block. This block I feel has the most room for flexibility. You want to cover the introduction into the New World, contrast with the old world and give the hero some time for fun and games and playing around in this new world. If it’s like a new romantic relationship, for example, then this block could be the lovers getting to know each other.

But maybe they have conflicting opinions on something, and they have to make compromises, which is different from how they lived in their old life. The second block is the build-up to the midpoint. The midpoint itself and the reversal, what the midpoint most dramatically and immediately changes for the hero.

how to plan out a novelThe final block of this act is the hero reacting to this change in themselves and deciding to put on their hero hat and take action, dedicating themselves to solving the problem at hand. No matter what in the third act the hero experiences, trials unlike anything they’ve dealt with before. Good thing they are so dedicated now after the midpoint, because a weaker version of the hero would not survive this part of the story.

They are put through trials, they experience another plot twist that makes things even worse and they find themselves in the darkest moment. Things look bleak. Victory is impossible but then they pull themselves together, find the power within and take action because now they are determined. Things can’t get any worse and they can only go up from here.

The hero takes action and now they are the one making stuff happen. The action the hero takes forces the plot to converge and gather and then the explosions happen. In the last block of the last act we have the battle struggle, the final fight the hero must overcome. We have the climax, the point of no return and then we have the resolution.

What happens after the climax? What is the aftermath? What is the falling action? The story is wrapped up, maybe with a few loose string,s maybe with a pretty little bow but either way there is a satisfying battle and a resolution to bring about the end of the story. And there we have it. This is the outline I use; 3 X 9 blocks 27 chapters.

Sometimes chapters get combined or split out, but I use these 27 points as a guide for 27 story events that push the plot forward. Try to make it pretty open-ended and a lot of the time I will twist it a bit to fit better to the story, rather than the other way around of twisting my story to fit the outline. The structure is like a skeleton for the story but it’s not supposed to be something really prominent.

how to plan writing a bookWhen you’re talking to a living, breathing, smiling, laughing person, you aren’t thinking about their skeletal structure underneath. At least, you’re probably not because that’s a little weird, but hey no judgement here people.

Books have souls and personalities, and life. The structure is just the foundation it gives it a bit of shape but what you put on that skeleton is not always restricted to this shape.

A lot of people have similar skeletons but that doesn’t mean those people are anything alike. A quiet literary novel could be built off this outline, as well as a dynamic explosive thriller. This is just a foundation on which to build your story up, and there are lots of different structures.

In my version of the three act structure, all the acts are the same length but sometimes the middle act is 50% of the story and the first and third each get 25 percent. Sometimes the acts are broken up in different places. I’ve seen a couple of story outlines where the second plot twist is at the end of the second act not at the beginning of the third act like I do it.

There are just so many different ways to structure story and this is just one of them, so yeah . I hope you enjoyed this video I hope I made at least some sense. Again, I’m not a professional at anything. I would love to hear your thoughts though.

What do you think of the structure? Would you ever use something like this to outline, or what structure do you prefer to use? Now I am going to outline my NaNoWriMo novel using this 27 chapter, structure of course. Good luck with all of your writing and outlining endeavours. I’ll have a new video up soon – I hope you have a good night.

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Ideas For Writing A Book – Author’s Inspiration

How To Find Book Ideas

There’s oodles of advice on the internet and elsewhere about planning a novel’s structure and analysing everything from plot to characters,  but where does the original idea for writing a book come from? Does it arrive in a flash of inspiration or the result of hard work and brainstorming?

By all accounts, it seems to be a combination of both – this is the real world folks, nothing is black or white! The good news is that the process doesn’t have to be one way or the other. The craft of writing adapts nicely to every author’s whim.

Personally, I think the first seed of the idea does indeed come in a flash, which is then finely tuned by asking those ‘what if’ questions around that first basic scrap of inspiration. A famous author once said:

‘Inspiration is for amateurs. Professionals get to work!’

It sounds a bit brutal, but that’s about the size of it. Once you think about a possible idea that just might grow into a great book, you need to work on it, organise your thoughts and approach it like a boss.

How To Get Ideas For Writing A Book – One Author’s Perspective

Alice Ozeman

Video transcript:

Hello everyone. I’ve decided as some of you may know to start a little series on my Youtube channel called ‘How to write a book’, (remembering that there isn’t one way to write a book) and essentially everything I say you can actually ignore, because you can just do what you want!

I get a lot of questions about writing books because I’m an author. I’ve written two books. I got published and I was quite young, and people starting writing, just want a bit of advice and I thought I could just address like every little part of writing a book in just a series of videos.

A simple series of videos definitely not, so when I keep getting asked the same questions I can just link them to videos instead of having to explain the same thing over and over again. On Tumblr a question I get asked a lot is ‘how do I come up with ideas?’ and that’s like the very first point you will be at before starting a book, especially if you want to write a book but you just don’t have an idea.

I mean, sometimes you have the idea at first and you’ll be like ‘that would be a good idea for a book’ I’m going to go write bit but sometimes a lot the time you just feel like I want to write something but you don’t have any ideas. So I’m gonna talk a little bit about coming up with ideas.

Book Writing Coach Lisa TenerThis is a whiteboard. Yes, I have a whiteboard. You know, just seeing and talking on YouTube is fine but is anyone else, like, obsessed with whiteboards? I actually love whiteboards. Every moment in school when I got to write on the whiteboard just made my day.

I just made this word, I mean I’ve had a real thing about this, and I think there are three main things that you need to consider if you want to try and come up with an idea. The first one, which apparently is red, and I have three colors for the three different things.

I know this is ‘Wow’, this is YouTube to the max everyone. The first thing that you should consider is inspiration. Gonna write it down. Sorry about – my oh god! I just forgot how to spell. Okay, so satisfying, sound inspiration when you’re coming up with ideas, only if you can’t come up with ideas.

If you don’t have any ideas, you want to try and get inspired by something, because the thing is about ideas is that there’s no such thing as an original idea. Every single idea you have will be influenced by things that you have seen in your life.

Anything from things have happened to you, people you’ve met, things that you’ve done, TV shows you’ve seen – literally anything that you have experienced in your life that is going to influence the ideas that you have.

And that’s why originality doesn’t exist. Yeah, it can be quite hard to find inspiration because inspiration in its nature tends to be quite a spontaneous thing. It tends to be this moment of, like, I’m inspired, rather than you like you can’t just force it to happen.

But I think there are several ways to kind of go out of your way to try and get inspired and in my opinion that’s mostly kind of experiencing new things. Personally, if I’m lacking inspiration I like to do things like go to the cinema and see your film I haven’t seen.

Or go to the theater and see a play I haven’t seen. Maybe listen to a new album that people have been talking about and I haven’t listened to yet. Basically, for me, it’s just kind of consuming other people’s art and that usually inspires me to think of things.

Find ideas for your next bookLet’s add that to a bubble map shall we? Consuming art. That sounds like I want to eat a painting. That can be a metaphor for something. Yes, good and there’s lots of other things that can inspire you. Like as I said, things in your life life experiences.

You don’t have to wait around for something dramatic to happen to you, because dramatic things happening to you are quite rare, but you can think about if you want to write this sort story. You could think about, you know, things that have affected you in your life.

Things that have made you feel deep emotions and a good sound. Yeah and those can all kind of feed into your ideas and inspire you to want to write them down. Because writing is a form of emotional expression for many people, so that could be good.

So to summarize, yeah those are like, for me, those are the two main things but obviously inspiration can just come from anywhere. So you know, be open to pretty much anything. If something makes you feel something, think about why it makes you feel that way and think about whether it would be a good and fun thing to put in a story.

Then good – one thing down. You can go down, the red pin. Okay, so the second thing um leads on quite well from inspiration and yes this is going to be the blue pen everyone. That wasn’t as satisfying. Blue pen is disappointing so far.

The second thing that I think is good for coming up with ideas is thinking about purpose. Strong word – very good. Look, we’re getting some nice colors now. Very very nice indeed. So what I mean by purpose is just having a think about, you know, you want to write a book.

You know you love writing. You want to write but you don’t have the idea. Purpose is figuring out why you want to write a book and think like and from that what sort of book would you want to write. I think the ‘why’ is quite important personally, because there are so many different reasons why someone would want to write a book.

Which is why there are so many different genres of fiction. For example, the person who wrote, James Joyce who wrote Ulysses, probably had a very different reason for writing a book than E.L. James, who wrote 50 shades of grey.

Get list of ideas for a bookBut they both wrote a book. They just both had very different reasons. There’s two very odd examples I chose there. Then probably thinking about why they wanted to write the book, that the type of book that I wanted to write was probably a very big part of figuring out what actually happens in their books.

So you want to write. You need to find your purpose. So from some examples, some people write because they want to explore a theme which is one of my big reasons for writing. Like in solitaire, I explore isolation and loneliness and feeling like different from other people and then in radio silence I explored like school stress and kind of expectation.

You might also want to write a book to express a message and to kind of teach people about something not in life a preacher a but just in a edge sort of educational way. Like I immediately think of only ever yours by Louise O’Neill, which I’m sure Louise wrote.

I mean, maybe it’s a bit presumptuous. I don’t know why anyone writes what they do, but I’m sure Louise wrote that because she wanted to teach people about feminism and about women like having rights over their own bodies and things like that.

So yeah but you know those took two quite serious things. People might also want to write books because they want to give people fluffy warm feelings. Like you know, if you write a very cute romance novel.

Create book topic ideasThat’s not really exploring any deep themes but you’ve still got a purpose for doing that because you’re letting the reader feel lots of nice warm feelings. So yeah, have a sit down, think about, you know, you want to write book but think about the why.

Why do you want to write and then leaving on from that, what would that entail? What to genre would that mean? What characters would you need? What setting would you need to explore? That cool, t nice little flow chart. Now we’ve got bubbles. We’ve got a flow chart and Mr. McCauley from Rochester Grammar School would be proud.

One last thing – I’ve left the whole half the board to do this. I’m not, I’m gonna try and fill up the board third and final thing is brainstorming. This green pen. All right everyone, the green pen is disappointing and I can’t fit the full word brainstorming on the whiteboard.

Just a disappointing final round everyone. That is weak, weak. The final thing I want to talk about brainstorming. Coming up with a book idea , it’s not gonna happen immediately. I mean, you can get that spark of inspiration, you can get like a sudden idea for a character or a theme or a be even a plot line, but you can’t come up with a full book plan in just like in one night.

I mean if you can, good well done. Why are you watching this video? I mean, if you don’t brainstorm, even if it’s just happening in your head, I don’t really know how you would write a book unless you brainstormed.

idea for a novelAnd so if you don’t know what brainstorming means (I’m sure you do) it just means just coming up with loads and loads of different ideas but miniature ideas. Coming up with loads of these little miniature ideas. Images, words, phrases, quotes and just collecting them all.

That’s right. Words, images, phrases. Wow, I mean this is top quality education. My handwriting is really deteriorated. I’m blaming this pen. Words, images, phrases and quotations. So brainstorming is so much fun. Like you can pretty much do it any way you want.

You could do it like this. You could do a bubble map, loads of bubble maps. You could just get a notebook and write down loads of words and ideas in a notebook and I tell you what is fun. What I always do is I make an inspiration blog like a Tumblr.

I just I collect images on Tumblr. I also make playlists, that’s a good form of brainstorming. So just anything that kind of spurs your imagination. Let’s give you some examples. Here we’ve got playlists ,notebooks, Tumblr – just Tumblr or you could use like Pinterest.

I’d never use Pinterest. I don’t really know like what Pinterest does. I think it’s like move boards. Oh bubble maps, I’ll try and show you some examples or I’ll insert them here, some images of my brainstorming methods. But this needs to go in a bubble continuity everyone.

And oh one more thing about brainstorming – important! You need to give it time. Don’t feel frustrated if you start brainstorming and you don’t immediately have a book idea. Just keep brainstorming . Keep working on those ideas and eventually something will just click.

That was a weak click. Ideas don’t arrive fully formed and complicated in your head. Plots don’t arrive fully formed complete in your head. Neither do characters. Everything starts small. So hopefully I’ve given you some starting points.

At least for me, those are kind of the three main things I think help me come up with ideas but as is the motto. I’ve decided in this series, you don’t have to listen to a single thing I say because writing is art and art is subjective and you can pretty much do whatever you want.

Okay I hope this is helpful. I’ll be back soon with the next one, which i think is gonna be on hold on. I’m gonna check planning. Let me know if this was helpful. Let me know if the whiteboard was a success. I think it was and I’ll see you in the next video. We’ll talk about planning. It’s gonna be good, yeah. Bye.

Help Writing A Book For Beginners & Beyond

Help In Book Writing

With the best will in the world, writing a book is hard. No, let me re-phrase that – writing a good book that’s worth publishing is hard. Writing is easy. Anyone can write and that is a problem with the industry at the moment. Millions of average books are appearing every week due to the ease of self-publishing. A good idea is to get help writing a book from people who have done it before.

Book Writing Coach Lisa TenerThere are loads of books to help with writing a book and these can be a boon, but the good coaching can make or break your authoring aspirations. Lisa Tener has helped many authors, coaching some of them to five and six figure publishing deals (check out the testimonials on her web site.)

We tend to shy away from seeking help in writing, but it is out there – and a lot of it for free! Of course, it has to be said that a lot of care should be taken by checking the credentials of the advice givers, but ,many luminaries, such as John Grisham, offer insights into their writing process.

One problem is that, while a basic process and structure is beneficial to new authors looking for help in writing a book, we are all individuals and don’t work in the same way. This is one reason why the best coaching and instructional writing courses focus on your personal strengths and weaknesses.

In the video below, Evan Carmichael outlines the process he uses for writing, publishing and marketing a book.

Need Help Writing A Book? It Happens All The Time

Video Transcript:

Hello, Believe Nation! My name is Evan Carmichael! My one word is believe, and I believe that entrepreneurs will solve all the of the world’s major problems. So, to help you on your journey, today, I’m going to talk about seven ways to write a book for beginners. (electronic music)

So, I launched my first book with Penguin Random House in December of last year. I’m in the process of writing my second book, and I have the first draft, just finished! I’m super excited about that. And I’ve been gettin’ a lot of questions, from you guys, asking me about the process. How do I write a book, what does it look like?

How do I make sure that my book is a success, comin’ out of the gate? And so, today, I wanted to share with you seven ways on how to do it, that I think you’ll enjoy. Tip number one, actually want to write a book. This might sound like a no-brainer, but I think a lot of people want to write a book for the wrong reasons.

how to get help writing a bookA lot of people want to write a book, because it’s going to get them credibility. You think it’s going to open up doors. And it can, and it does. I think it was a lot more true, ten years ago, than it is now. I can open up almost any door I want, just usin’ my YouTube channel, and my social media, much more than the book helps me do that.

There weren’t as many avenues as there were before, and so, you needed to have a book. But now, it’s not as necessary. I wouldn’t say that it’s not important at all. I think a good book can definitely help you open up a lot of opportunities, but it’s not needed.

If that’s your goal, there’s a lot of other ways around to do it. Writin’ a book is really hard. For me, it was a two year process. The second book is coming along a little bit faster. So, you have to really want to do it. If it’s a bucket list thing that you have to do, and you’re deeply passionate about it. You have a message that you want to share. This needs to come out!

You need to give birth to this thing! It’s that important to you, then you should go out and do it. If it’s part of your marketing strategy, and nice to have, then I think there’s other, more effective ways that you can.

So, just want to make sure that that’s, or anything you’re doing, in life, in business, you’re startin’ a company for an important reason, not just trying to make money, or just prove something. So, you have to really, really, really, really want to write a book. If you are, then the next six steps are for you.

Tip number two, is create an outline and a schedule. What I found really helpful for me, was to create an outline at the start. So, my book, Your One Word, we’ve got seven chapters, it’s three sections. And so, I start from the top. What’s the big idea, that I want to get across?

And this works really well with nonfiction, but also with fiction. What is the main thing that I’m tryin’ to get across? And then, how does that break down? So, I have three main sections in the book. Okay, what are those three things look like?

And then, within three, then how do I divide those into different chapters? Great, okay, so I have these chapters here, these chapters here, great, all makes sense. Now, I can start to work on individual chapters, and in that chapter, what I want to talk about.

book writing helpYou can go page, by page, by page. And so, I find it really hard to think big, and think small at the same time. So, I think my big thinking first. That’s the outline, that’s the overview. It’s what we’re tryin’ to accomplish. That’s the general breakdown of the section.

And then, once it’s all planned out, even just a headline, or a title, then I can get the work, I’m actually building that page, and I trust that it fills in with everything else that I’m tryin’ to do. It fits the strategy, it fits the structure really well. Also, if your goal is to get it into a publisher’s hands, they want to see an outline.

They want to know what you’re doing. They want to see a sample chapter as well, you’ll submit to them, and get a sense of your writing style. And I think, for the scheduling part, creating the schedule, for yourself, to make time, right? It’s a lot of work, to write a book! And so, you need to dedicate time, in your schedule.

You’re not just going to have pockets, that magically open up. And for me, at least, I needed to find dedicated time to do it. Everybody has their own process. Some people love writing two crappy pages a day, and they spend half an hour every morning, writing. For me, that didn’t work. I needed to have chunks of time.

If I sat down in the morning, and tried to have 15, to half an hour, 15 minutes, and half an hour, writing, it took me that long, just to get into the zone of writing, and then I would stop, to go do something else. I needed to block out my whole day. So, while I was writing Your One Word, that was my whole Tuesday.

I would spend the entire Tuesday writing my book. I would get out of my place. I would walk to a local coffee shop. I would answer your questions, and document the journey as I went along. And when I got to the coffee shop, I would shut out all distractions, and just write.

It took me about 30 minutes to get into the zone. I’d think, okay, now I’m flowing. Then, I tried to stay there as much as possible. So, if it’s really, really important to you that it gets done, put it in your calendar. Make time for it.

get help for writing a bookThen again, this is for everything, not just writing a book. You got to prioritize the things that are important to you, and put them in your calendar, or they won’t get done. If you’re just waitin’ for some time to magically appear, guarantee, it’s not going to happen. Schedule it in.

Tip number three, is decide whether you want to self-publish, or use a publisher. It really just depends on what your goals are. If your goal is primarily, financially, you want to be able to make money from it, and you want to be able to control a lot of the aspects of it, then self-publishing is the way to go.

You can make a little money, just a tiny commission, from whatever name is on the other resellers. And you get to decide everything. Book cover, all the words inside, every aspect about it, you get to have full control over. This was exactly your vision, and it gets out there. That’s self-publishing model.

If your goal is to have reach, if your goal is to use your publisher’s branding recognition, then you go to publisher. For me, my goal is to help building entrepreneurs. And so, I wanted, I always wanted, to work out projects that have the ability, to have a massive impact. That’s what I strive for, every single day.

And so, self-publishing wasn’t the route that I wanted to go. I wanted to go with a major publisher, because I value not just their ability to help with the editing and all that stuff, ’cause you can hire someone for that. But, distribution, promotion, having the brand name attached to it.

Not so much that adding Penguin on my name really means a lot, but Penguin on the book can mean a lot. And so, I wanted to give the book the best chance, to have big reach, to get to the bookstores, to get name recognition. And so, that’s why I went with the publisher.

If you’re going to go with a publisher, I highly recommend trying to get a literary agent first. Literary agents basically represent you. They’re like a real estate agent, but for your book, instead of for your house.

Their job is to know all the different people, all the different publishers, where they have money, what books they’re interested in, and create basic credibility more. When I was doing mine, we had five calls with publishers, on two days, back, to back, to back, to back, to back, to back, and it created some drama, right?

So, we talked to one, and talked to another, talk to another, and we ended up increasing the commitment, significantly, from where we started. And so, when you can create that kind of bidding war, it gets people more interested in you, and you need a well trained literary agent, because of connections, to make that happen for you.

So, if you’re going to go the publisher route, I’d recommend going with a literary agent. They usually take a percentage of your deal, but it much, much, much more pays for itself, as well as the advice, and the positioning, compared to if you try to do it by yourself. – So, tip number four, is to overcome rejection.

help me write a bookIt’s our first series on Evan’s channel, called Unlocking Lily. And one of the challenges, I had to research famous speakers, and a lot of them wrote books. But, one of the authors that really, really resonated with me, is Jack Canfield.

So, Jack Canfield was rejected by 144 publishers, before he was able to publish his book, Chicken Soup for the Soul. Can you imagine, if he gave up, after the first publisher, or even the 50th one, or the 100 one? We wouldn’t have access to his books, and his message would’ve been completely lost.

So many millions of people actually benefit off his books. So, that’s the same thing for you. Anytime you’re rejected, keep going. And I know, I know rejection’s so hard, especially if you put your entire life’s work, and effort into this book, and it just gets shut down, and rejected.

So, that’s why you need to keep going, and going through all the rejections, and overcome them. Because, it’s important to you. Your message needs to be out there. And then, there’s a funny old saying, there’s a lid for every pot.

So, every time you bring a book to a publisher, and they say no, go to the next one, go to the next one, keep going, and you will find a lid to your pot. – Tip number five, is have a test audience. This was actually something surprising, that’s not really done in the publishing world.

When I was getting close to the draft of my first book, Your One Word, I was getting ready to get it out there, and let people know about it. I said, okay, so what do we do with test audiences?

How do we get feedback on this, and they said, “Well, we don’t do test audiences. “We don’t get feedback.” And it’s something that’s really common in lot of other industries. In software, before you start selling your product, you send it out to your beta testers, and they test it, and they tell you what’s wrong with it, and how it can be fixed.

In the movie business, they’ll make a movie, and have test screenings, and then they’ll see what the audience reaction is, and maybe change the ending, or change different scenes, because that thought that would make people laugh, but they didn’t laugh.

help in writing a bookSo, let’s switch it up. Or, they got too scary at the end, and walked out. So, let’s switch that up. In the book business, it’s not really done. They’re so concerned about people getting early access, and it being shared too much, and it’s just not part of how the industry works, and I find it so incredibly helpful to do!

So, I printed off 30 copies of my book. I actually printed it off at Alex’s little condo. That was a fun day, and had just binders. And I shipped ’em, and gave ’em to people who were in my local area. Some were entrepreneurs.

Half were entrepreneurs, half weren’t entrepreneurs. So, I wanted a general perspective. And the feedback was so helpful. I actually trimmed my book down to half. I wrote two books. So, they wanted 60, 65,000 words.

In the book, I wrote 120, 130,000 words, and half the book is gone. It was cut, based off the feedback that came from my test audience. And so, I highly recommend that you print off 20 to 30 copies of your book, before it goes to final print, and just get feedback from people who are inside your target market, and outside, just to get tips, suggestions.

And yeah, see about grammar errors, and all that kind of stuff, but more like how did it resonate with you? Did you like this part? And the thing I really paid attention to, especially parts in a nonfiction book, was where people underlined, and the notes that they wrote to themselves. I didn’t care what they wrote.

I wasn’t really payin’ attention to how it was impacting them, but this page got a lot of people underlining, and writing notes in the column, and these four pages, nobody cared about. It’s pretty easy to decide which pages to cut for the book. So, have a test audience. Tip number six, is get ready for pre-launch. It’s not just about writing a great book.

You have to have marketing. You need to promote it. You got to get exposure from it. It’s really important. And so, I think an easy way to do it, is actually to start documenting the process along the way. So, I was launching Your One Word, every week, I’d make a new video.

I would update you guys with how I was doing, where I was at, my concerns, my victories, and I would answer your questions about the whole process as well. And so, I think documenting your process, documenting your journey, whether it’s on YouTube, or Twitter, on Instagram, or Facebook, or wherever you live, start to buIld a little bit of a community up, and get people to join you on that path, so they are excited for the book coming out.

books to help with writingThey’re ready to buy in advance. Have bonuses that relate to the book, and give an incentive to buy early, and to buy multiples. I think one of the biggest mistakes I made, in my bonus package, was that I didn’t have a two option. So, you could buy one book, I think it was then ten books, and then up, like 25 and up from there.

But, a lot of people ended up buying one book, and another book for a friend. I didn’t have a two book bonus option. And so, do it again, would have something for, if you buy two books. It’s an easy entry point. But, not just waiting for it to launch, and hope everything goes okay.

Carefully planning the pre-launch of it, counting down on your website, showcasing features of what’s going to be in there, documenting the process that people can join in on your journey, and they’re excited for it.

And you get a chance to talk about your book, over, and over, and over, and over again, without it being promotional, because you’re providing value in updating every step along the way. And tip number seven, is keep marketing.

Just because your book has come out, it doesn’t mean you should stop marketing. It’s not just about week one, when it just comes out, it’s constantly marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, and hopefully your book ties into what you’re currently doing, whether you’re a thought leader, whether you’re an entrepreneur, whatever it is that you’re doing, your book hopefully fills a void, and is part of your ongoing process.

And ideally, you can involve it in the things that you’re doing. So, couple examples of how we do it, one, content. So, I make content. I’m a YouTuber. I have Twitter. I have other accounts, social media, and I always have consistent content on the book.

On my Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, and Twitter, and it may just be reading a quote from the book. Almost every weeknight, I’ll read a quote from the book, and post that as a quick ten second video. I use the book in… I use the book in my videos. Let’s line that up, right? The book is always kind of seen, product placement in here.

I say what my one word is, at the top of the video. I thank people at the end of the videos, who bought the book, and give them shout outs. I ask people to remember what their one word is at the end of the video. So, I’m creating content that includes the book, where I’m relevant. I don’t try to force it in situation where it doesn’t work.

But sometimes, the book will be in the seven ways. Like, number five is find your one word. It’s applicable. It’s part of my process. And so, creating content that feels natural, that’s not just promotional content, but naturally fits, because its value in the book that you created.

The second thing that I do, that is really helpful, is work that, well, like a hack, that I haven’t seen a lot of other people do, is every week, my assistant will go to Amazon, pull up my book page, and then see what related books are recommended down below.

So, it might be a Grant Cardone book, or it might be Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, or it might be Tim Ferriss’s book. Whatever the most relevant book is, for my book that week, and then, my assistant will go to YouTube, where I’m most known, I have the biggest following, and start connecting to other YouTubers, who have done book reviews on those other books.

help with writing a bookAnd she’ll reach out, and say, hey, I see you did a review of Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, or his new book that just came out. I have a book opportunity for you. Here’s Evan. He’s got a book called Your One Word. It’s really related to what Gary’s doing, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

And if you want Evan to be a part of your video, let me know. And so, I’m often either being interviewed for the book, or providing a voiceover for the book, depending on how they do their videos. And so, that’s been a highly effective way.

So, I’ve lined up around 40 or 50 YouTubers who profiled my book, just by having a simple outreach on related books. And the third thing to do, around marketing, is really following up with the readers. You know, a lot of readers don’t even read the book, any book. Like, most people who will buy your book, it’ll just sit there on the shelf, and they’ll never read it.

It just collects dust. And I would much rather sell ten books, and everybody read, those ten people read the books, and sell 100, and nobody reads ’em. And so, having a way to follow up, with readers, and making sure that they’re consuming the content, they need any help. And we do a lot of work. So, one of the things that we try to do, in the pre-campaigns, is collect emails. I wish I did something stronger in the book.

One of my regrets is, I wish, like on the first page, it said, email your receipt to this email address, and we’ll send you bonuses, because that way, you can collect a lot more email addresses. And most of the people, who bought my book, went through Amazon, and I don’t know who they are.

So, I have no way of following up with them. It’s frustrating. But, we did collect a lot of email addresses from our readers, and they get put into a sequence, where every month, I’m sending them an email, that’s related to the book, that’s asking them how they’re doing, that’s checking in. Did you find your one word, can I help?

Can I be your resource, do you have any questions? Do you have any problems? I also send them a video of the month, that’s answering somebody’s question, so it’s an unlisted video, that you don’t have access to, unless you bought the book, and you get that once a month.

And it’ll also make a customized video for everybody, and just a quick, ten second video. Hey, John. Thank you so much for picking up my book. I see you’re from California. I really appreciate the support, man. I was just in California last month.

If I come back again, it’ll be great to be able to connect and do something together. What’s up, Jonathan? Alexandra, happy Tuesday. What’s up, man? Greetings from Toronto, all the way out to Jamaica. You know, just a quick personal video, and people really appreciate it. So, my goal is to follow up, because some people never pick up a book, and read it.

who can help me write a bookOr, some people, after the third message, they read it, they’re right back, ’cause they feel guilty, like oh, I haven’t read the book yet. You want the people, who’ve read your book, to spread it. Like, word of mouth is so important, for an author trying to get their book out, ’cause you’re not spending money on Super Bowl commercials, right?

You don’t have a million dollar ad campaign. And so, you want the people to spread it for you. And if they haven’t read the book, then they can’t spread the message! And so, thinkin’ about ways to collect people’s email addresses, put it in a book, give them bonuses.

I also write in the book, if you’re havin’ any problems finding your one word, email me. I put the email address in there, so people connect through that method as well. And if you can get them, finding value in the book, they’re much more likely to tell their friends.

And so, those are three of the ideas that I’m using for my book, Your One Word, and I encourage you to find ways, continue to market it, so it’s not just a one-off thing, launch date, and then you forget about it.

So, those are my seven tips on how to write a book for beginners. I made this video, because nazem abdrabo asked me to. So, if you want me to cover a topic in a future Seven Ways video, there’s a link in the description. You can go check it out there, and vote for your next favorite topic. I’d also love to know, what did you think of this video?

What was your favorite tip? What was most applicable to your process? Is there an eight, nine, ten, that I missed, that you want to add to the list? Please share down in the comments below. I’m really excited to see what you have to say.

I also wanted to give a quick shout out to the legendary Brian Tracy. Brian, thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word, and sharing your review, and posting to Twitter. It really means a lot to me, and I’m so glad that you enjoyed the book.

So, thank you guys so much for watching. I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself, and whatever your one word is. Much love. I’ll see you soon.

Help writing a book pdf

How To Start Writing A Book For Beginners – Ideas For Writing A Book

the snowflake method to start writing a novel

Hello and welcome back to my channel. If you don’t know who I am, I’m Britt Poe. I am an author and a writing a business coach for creative writers and authors alike. Today I’m gonna be talking about how to outline your novel using my absolute favorite method, the snowflake method.

So before I get into the how-to, I wanted to share a little bit of background. In the writing world there are two sort of sides when it comes to planning a novel. There are plotters, the ones who plan everything and set them out before they start writing, and then there are Pantsers, those who sort of just take their idea and go with it with really no structured plan on where they’re going.

In my writing practice, I’ve literally been all over the board with my writing and my planning techniques. I’ve tried so hard just to find something that really clicked with my creative process and ended up really uninspired with a lot of different methods to outlining, which then left my manuscript suffering because I was just uninspired and an uninspired writer is probably not the best kind of writer.

So when I heard about the snowflake method, I decided to give it a go and I am just loving the amazingness of the snowflake method. It works so well with my finger in my creative process and it really helps me get an outline down and completed, so that I can actually start writing that first draft.

So what is the snowflake method?

The snowflake method is an approach to writing developed by a guy named Randy Inger Mason. I will link to his website below where he really goes into tons of detail about the snowflake method himself but in all this method is composed of ten steps.

The goal is to have an extensive outline filled with everything that you need for your plot and for your characters in order to write your novel. Something about the way that this method is structured just really jives with me and my process. So now I’m gonna tell you how you guys can do it yourself.

Step one of the ten steps of the snowflake method is to write a one sentence summary of your novel. This is the hardest part for me because something about having to fit all of the ideas in my head about the novel into one little sentence. It’s kind of tedious and excruciating for me, but yeah, I did it.

So you’re gonna challenge yourself to write one sentence to explain the plot of your book. The idea is to make this about 15 to 20 words. To avoid any running on, or rambling, and you really want to just get straight to the point. So I’m gonna share a couple tips with you guys to make this a little easier.

  • Tip number one is don’t use your characters names. It’s much better to say something like ‘a young wizard’ versus saying ‘Harry Potter’.
  • Tip number two is that you’re going to want to tie in the big picture, idea or goal of your novel with the personal goal of your protagonist or main character.

The thing to think about is which of my characters has the most to lose and why is it that they want to win? The third tip is something that really really helped me when I was doing my one sentence summary and that is to go and read the one-liners on the New York Times bestseller list.

It’ll give you a feel on how other people do this and how you can also use that strategy and use that structure to write your own one sentence summary.

how to write a fiction novel for beginnersStep number two is to expand that sentence into a full paragraph. This is where you will start planting the seeds for your plot. This paragraph will summarize the entire book, including the ending. There is a general structure that you’re going to want to follow for this paragraph.

  • Sentence 1 needs to be the backdrop to your story, where is it taking place and who is your character.
  • Sentence 2 is going to be a summary of the first quarter of your book, which leads up to the first disaster.
  • Sentence 3 will be a summary of the second quarter of your book leading up to the second disaster.
  • Sentence 4 will be a summary of the third quarter of your book leading up to the third disaster and …
  • Sentence 5 will be a summary of the fourth quarter of your book leading up to the conclusion.

Step number three is to write a one page summary of each character in your book. Here you’re going to want to know their name. You’re going to want to have a one sentence summary of the character’s storyline, know their motivation and their goals.

You’re going to want to know what conflicts that they’re facing and if the character has an epiphany, or basically what they will learn, or how they will change throughout your book. And then you’re going to want to write a one paragraph summary of the character’s storyline.

Step number four is to expand each sentence in your one paragraph summary to one page. This step is where they start to take a little bit longer than the previous steps, because here you will be expanding each of your plot points in the previous step.

how to start writing a book for beginnersTo do this you’re going to take each sentence in your paragraph and expand that into its own paragraph. I have an example on how to do this on the blog post version of this video if you need a more visual instruction on how to do this. I will link the blog post in the description of this so you can go check that out when you are done watching.

Step number five is to write the synopsis from the POV of your characters. You’re gonna be focusing more on only the main characters of your novel here, but this is a really important step for me because it allows me to get into the head of my characters and find their voice. You’ll also be able to discover really useful things like what this character is doing, when it’s not actually present in a chapter of your novel.

Step number six is to expand each paragraph from your one page summary to a page. This is where you’ll start to get a grip on the high level logic of your main plot points. So just like we expanded each sentence into its own paragraph, now you’re going to expand each paragraph into its own page. Feel free to add as many details as you want here just make sure that it doesn’t go over a page, so that this this part of the outline doesn’t get too out of hand.

Step number seven is to create character charts of each of your characters. If you’re interested on getting your hands on the same character chart that I use in my writing, I have a free template available on my website. I will link that below as well and you are free to download it and use it for your own writing. The basic things that you want to focus on your charts are:

  • birth date
  • physical appearance
  • family history
  • personal traits
  • quirks
  • their goals
  • motivations

Step number eight is to make a spreadsheet outline of each scene based on your four page summary that you did above. So this step is very time-consuming I’m going to admit, but it is very, very important and so helpful for me at least, when I start the actual writing process.

So what you’re going to want to do is take each paragraph from the summary and brainstorm all of the scenes that are necessary to tell that part of the story. Then you’re going to want to get your favorite spreadsheet system out and then get one line for each sentence detailing the chapter number.

tips for writing a book for beginnersThe POV, the setting, the date or timeline, as well as which characters are involved and a little description of what happens in that chapter. On my website attached to the blog version of this post I am offering up a free template of my snowflake outline Trello board, which is where I personally create all of my outlines and go through the snowflake outlining process.

It’s my centralized hub for all of my book information and so if you download the Trello board you’ll also get a copy of my same spreadsheet completely for free. It’s attached on the troll board itself. Also something to remember here is that even though everything has already been planned out, by the time that you write, you can diverge from your outline if your characters or your stories start pulling you in a different direction as you write.

If you’re like me, that tends to happen quite frequently, but just know that it’s super easy to go back to the spreadsheet and edit what you need to edit or add a line wherever you need to add it.

Step number nine is to write a narrative summary of each scene. I’m gonna admit that I do not write a full narrative summary for every single scene. Instead, what I like to do is on my scene card inside of Trello, I just like to go in there, and if I have snippets of dialogue, or setting ideas, or just all of the things floating inside of my head about that scene, then I’ll just type it up really quick in the Trello card.

When I do write that scene, I can just open it up and remember ‘oh yeah, this is where, you know, I wanted them to be here, or this is where I wanted them to have this conversation.’ Add things like that.

The final step, step number ten is just to write your book. By this point you should know what’s happening in each scene and where each character is development wise. It’s a great time to get that first draft down on paper.

This is where I print out all of my character descriptions and my spreadsheets and I slop them into my handy-dandy binder for easy reference. Now you might have noticed that this outline process is kind of labor-intensive and it can take a long time if you allow it to.

I was able to get steps one through nine of the snowflake method completed for my WIP and ten hours spread over the course of a couple weeks, but once you get all this detail right now and available to you it just becomes so much easier to crank out that first draft.

So if you would like a copy of my snowflake outlining Trello board it’s hop on over to the blog version of this video. I will link it in the description below. You’ll also be able to get my free spreadsheet complete there as well as my character charts.

Let me know if this method sounds like something that you’re interested in trying or if you have tried it before and what your thoughts about it are. If you like this video please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel, because every single week I’m releasing more videos just like this about writing and the business side of being an author. I look forward to you guys next time – bye.

How to start writing a book for beginners – Britt Poe, Snowflake Method PDF


How To Start Writing A Book For Beginners – Help Writing A Book

how to start writing a novel for beginners

Without a doubt, the beginning of any complex task is the hardest to accomplish. For beginners, how to start writing a book requires more than learning the technical aspects of beginning to get the novel down on paper.

It’s generally agreed among authors, editors and publishers that those first pages are absolutely crucial to your book’s success.

The two videos transcribed below look at this from the viewpoint of and editor and an author. As you will find, they agree one hundred percent. The whole craft and point of writing anything is to get those readers turning the page. If the first pages don’t intrigue and enthral, the novel won’t be read and months of work will be for nothing.

How To Get Started Writing A Book

(with Ellen Rock)

Video Transcript:

How to start writing a book for beginners - online workshopsHi guys. It’s Ellen Rock, freelance editor. I know I haven’t made a video in a long time – I’ve been really busy, but you guys have sent me a lot of really great requests, and I really do want to get to all of them.

It’s just going to take me a while because I have a lot on my plate right now. I’ve gotten comments and emails from a lot of people saying that they missed the novel boot camp event that I held on my blog. I guess I didn’t really do a great job promoting it. Part of it was, I wasn’t sure how big it would get and I didn’t want things get too out of hand.

Because this is the first year that I’ve done it, but it turned out really well. There was a lot of participation, probably about as much as I could handle this year. I am hoping to make it bigger next year. I’m not exactly sure how I will execute it, but I’ll make sure to let everybody know in advance and make sure that it’s really clear when it’s happening and how you can participate.

I know a lot of people don’t have a lot of time and maybe it’s easier to watch a video than it is to read a long blog post. So the first thing I covered during novel boot camp was how to write a great first page. I talked about it in terms of the first page promise, because really the first page is the promise of the potential of your book.

It’s the promise of the tone and the genre and the type of story that you’re going to be telling. I compare this the first page to an audition. If you’re an actor and you’re going out for a role, you really have to demonstrate your ability to the casting director in a very short period of time, very quickly.

And they’re going to be making a very fast decision about whether they like you and whether you suit the role that they’re looking to cast. How this applies your first page is that when you’re looking to impress a publisher, the first page is really what’s going to tell the agent that they either really like this book.

That it really suits what they’re interested in, or it’s going to tell them, you know, this isn’t really my thing. So if we go along with this analogy, where the first page is your audition, then when you have a partial or full manuscript requested by an agent or an editor, that’s like your callback.

Now if you’re an actor and you go to a callback, how you perform is very, very different from how you performed an audition, the casting director might get a little bit confused. They might get frustrated, and more likely than not, they’ll be disappointed because they liked what you did at the audition.

best way to start writing a book

They called you back to see more of what they already saw. If your novel does not deliver what the first page promises, you’re in trouble. That’s because the people who loved your first page will be disappointed when they find out that that’s not really what your book is about. People who would have loved your book won’t necessarily read it if the first page is an inaccurate representation of what the book is like.

This means that the wrong people will read your book, and this will apply no matter if you’re self-publishing or you’re sending to agents or you’re sending to editors. You want the right people to read your book. You want the people who read your book to be the people who will like it. You love the genre, like the tone or interested in the plot, so it’s very important that the first page accurately reflects the book as a whole.

So this really starts with the tone and the tone is sort of the atmosphere of your novel. It’s the sense that it creates in the reader. You know, is it mysterious? Is it scary? Is it exciting? Is it romantic? You obviously can’t go a hundred percent to show this tone right off the bat but at the very least you can allude to the tone based on your word choices and sort of the vibe that you give off with your first page.

A lot of amateur writers set the wrong tone. There are three main reasons why this happens. The first is that the writer starts at the beginning and writes to the end, and they don’t really realize what the novel is about until maybe halfway through. Or maybe even to the very end but after they’re done they don’t go back and change the book. They leave the original opening that really doesn’t suit the book.

how to begin writing a novelThe second reason is that the writer is worried that the logical place to start their book isn’t interesting or exciting enough, so they’ll try to put in a scene before the logical opening that maybe is a little more exciting, a little more adventurous. But a lot of the time these scenes feel tacked on. Sometimes they’re a prologue.

A lot of the times with my clients, I’ll see things like this, that even after you get all the way through the book, you can go back and read the beginning. The very first scene, whether it’s the first chapter or the prologue, and it doesn’t really make sense. It doesn’t really fit with the book. It’s not even really clear why it was included. This is usually because the writer is just afraid that where they’re starting the book is not interesting enough.

The third reason that the first page might not set the right tone is if you’re too busy cramming information in to really let the reader breathe and experience the world and the characters, and really come to understand what the book is about, and what it’s going to be like. So the first page needing to convey the tone of the book and really give readers a good idea what to expect.

That’s the main reason why you’ll see a lot of writing advice to not start with dreams, prologue, flashbacks, things like that in the beginning of your novel. It’s not so much that this is inherently bad all of the time, it’s just that you don’t want to use these things as a device to make your novel see more interesting, if it doesn’t actually convey anything about the book.

Sometimes this is just sort of lazy writing. It’s easier to write an interesting flashback, or dream, or prologue than it is to write a really interesting first chapter. First chapters take a lot of work. You should expect to rewrite it probably the most of anything in the entire book because it’s really hard to set that tone right from the beginning.

But tacking on an extra part in the beginning to try to make it seem more interesting really isn’t going to work, because readers are going to get to the part that you’re trying to hide. The part that’s not really so exciting, so it’s not ultimately going to benefit you. More likely than not, it will just create a greater sense of disappointment.

How To Get Started Writing A NovelSo now we’ve talked about the importance of setting the right tone and atmosphere in the first page of your novel. Let’s talk about how you can create a promise that you can keep. How you can write a great first page. The first step is to identify the tone of your novel. Is it creepy, heartwarming, funny, romantic? Whatever it is make sure that you’re clear on what kind of tone you want to convey. What you want to make the reader feel when they start reading your book.

But don’t go overboard! You don’t want the first thing that your reader reads to be the most exciting thing that happens in the whole book, or the scariest thing that happens in the whole book. You want to build in intensity. The easiest way to accomplish this is to start with a sort of micro version of what the larger plot is going to be about.

For example, if your novel about overthrowing an oppressive government, you could start by showing the main character standing up to an oppressive postal worker. Or if your novel is about a boy learning to be himself, you could show him covering up his true feelings while trying to get away from a bully. These things demonstrate right away to the reader what the point of the book is going to be, what the book is about in a larger sense than just what the plot is about.

Because you won’t quite yet be revealing what the whole plot is about. In both of these examples, the writer would have no problem setting a clear tone, but also building in intensity over time. Before you start rewriting your first page, or working on revisions, remember that writing a great first page means writing the best overall representation of your novel.

It doesn’t mean writing an exciting car chase, or something totally outrageous and gripping. A hook can be valuable and important, but don’t force one if your story doesn’t have one on its own. So I hope this video helped you get a better idea of how you can write a great first page that best represents your book, and gives you the best possible chance at attracting the right readers, and repelling the ones that really don’t save your book anyway.

How to start writing a novel for beginners - Novel writing course with Alessandra Torres

How To Start Writing A Book

(video by Stefanie Newell)

Video Transcript:

Hi YouTube! Author Stefanie Newell and this is The Life Of A Writer channel. Today’s video – How To Write A Book For Beginners – The First Five Steps.

So if you want to connect with readers and sell more books. Make sure to subscribe and get new content to your inbox every Tuesday. But in this video, I’m going to be providing the first five steps for writing a book. Now by taking these first five steps, you’ll learn the correct order to do things in and it also puts you on a path to becoming a published author.

So if you want to take advantage of my writers checklist where I provide 22 steps for writing and publishing your first book, make sure to check out the description box below.

Step number one – Overcoming your fears! Now there are a lot of different fears around writing and publishing a book. For some people it may be around the writing itself and other people there may be a fear of failure or maybe even success. So step number one should always be addressing what fears, you may have and what’s at the root of those fears and also considering what challenges you’re going to face on your writing journey.

So if you know that procrastination is a problem, for example, you definitely want to address that in step number one. Now I have a book called Write A Book Now! Overcoming Your Fear Of Writing where I help writers to figure out exactly what those fears are and give you some tips on how to overcome it.

Begin writing a book - Writer's Workshop Link - ceative course online - novel writing

Step number two – Hone your book idea! Now this is a step that you’re going to spend a considerable amount of time. You don’t want to think about it and then move on to step three, because you really want to be thoughtful with this particular step.

This is the step where you figure out whether or not you can write on this subject matter for 80,000 words, for example. This is also the step where you’re going to figure out if this is something that you’re passionate about. Because passion is really going to be important for the other steps in this process where it gets a little bit more challenging and where more is required of you.

Passion is what’s going to keep driving you through the writing process. For those of you who write fiction, you’re going to be thinking about things such as your characters. So what do they look like? What types of jobs do they have? What motivates them? What makes them angry? What makes them sad?

And you also want to be thinking about your plot as well as your point of view in this particular step. Now, if you haven’t seen my previous video on plot. I definitely will link that in the description box below. For those of you who write nonfiction, you want to start to think about who your audience is.

how to start writing a book for beginnersWho specifically are you writing this book for? And what message it is that you want to share?

And in this step is also where you’re going to be thinking about your outline. So for those of you who write fiction or nonfiction, you want to start to draft exactly what it is that you want to accomplish with your book.

Whether it’s your plot or your theme, you definitely want to do that in this step.

Step number three – Decide on your genre! So now that you’ve had an opportunity to hone your book idea and you know exactly the direction you want to take your book in. Think about what books are similar to the book that you want to write.

As a matter of fact down in the comment section below, share with me the books that are similar to the book that you’re trying to write. Now once you have a list of maybe five or 10 books go on Amazon and look at those particular books and see what genre those books are in and that will help you with step four.

Step number four – Determine your target audience. Now, this is another really important step because you’re going to learn two different things in this step. Number one you’re going to learn how to write with your target audience in mind and then you’re also going to in the later steps, learn how to also market to your target audience.

Now this isn’t a perfect science. You’re not going to know everything about your target audience. Initially, this is something that you’re going to continue to learn as you write more, as you market more… but you want to start to give some consideration to your genre and what their expectations are.

how to start writing a bookIn step three, I encouraged you to go on Amazon and start to figure out exactly what genre your book falls in. In this step I’m going to encourage you to read some reviews from that particular genre because reviewers leaves such awesome clues as to who is a part of your target audience.

So for example, if someone leaves a review and they say that they are an avid reader. That’s a clue! If they say something about their age or that they’re a female and that they have kids… all of those different things start to help you to figure out exactly how you need to write for this audience and how later you can target this audience through marketing.

Step number five. Consider your publishing method. Now this is a step that some writers wait until they’re absolutely finished writing their book to give some consideration to, but I think it’s important to think about it now whether or not you’re going to self publish your book or traditionally publish, because they are really two different paths and they require two different things.

So by thinking about it very early in the process, you can start to see what needs to happen on your writing journey in order for you to be successful, if you want to connect with readers and sell more books.

How To Begin Writing A Book The Right Way

How to begin writing a book - featured

Hi everyone – Alexa Donne here and today I am talking all about starting your novel in the right place.

Now this is kind of a buzzy phrase that you may have heard, especially if anyone has ever told you, if you’ve heard people tell other writers ‘hmm I think you’re starting your book in the wrong place’.

You hear this because it’s really critical to start your book in the right place. Ideally you want to start with a scene that illustrates character, conflict, world and ideally also stakes. Now this is a tall order. There’s a lot to accomplish in whatever your opening scene or chapter is.

Essentially, what people mean when they say that you’re starting in the wrong place is your pacing is off. If you start too early, you’re pacing is going to drag. It’s going to feel slow, and if you start too late, your pacing is going to feel too fast.

You’re throwing people into a situation, usually an action scene, where they don’t know what’s going on. They don’t know who people are and they don’t have a reason to care, so you kind of have to strike that balance between boring people to tears and confusing the heck out of them.

Alexa Donne’s Youtube Channel

Video Transcript (cont’d)

How To Start Writing A Novel Beginners – A Few Tips

There’s that kind of middle ground. My best advice is to think about starting your novel the day that it all changes, or alternately 15 minutes before it all changes. Not necessarily literally by the way, you want to think of it kind of abstractly, as what is the thing that happens right before the big change happens?

The big change being your inciting incident. Very often the answer to this question will tell you where you might want to start your novel. In many cases this is going to be a slice of life of kind of, who your characters are and kind of what their life is about before everything changes.

But that said, you want to be careful not to make it boring a play-by-play of everything that your character does in there life. Their normal life is going to be frankly boring. You have to think more dynamic than that.

Whatever scene you choose, as I mentioned, is gonna have to perform all of those functions – introducing character, the world, the conflict and the stakes. Often, part of this is introducing multiple characters, how they relate to each other and and how they tie into the conflict end of the stakes.

You want this scene to be interesting and specific. Whatever you choose should say something about your character and your world. That said, this shouldn’t be like a massive info-dump. Now I’ve said it before and I will say it again – don’t all start your books this way but one of my favorite ways to accomplish this is through party scenes.

How to begin a book with structureParty scenes tell you a lot about the character, the world they live in, how they interact with people and you can throw a lot of conflict into a party scene. This by the way, it might not be the literal start to your book but a party scene or something similar to it.

You want to think of other dynamic, social situations that are kind of similar to what a party is. Having that kind of in that first part of your book before the inciting incident can be really really useful. I have indeed started two books like right in the middle of a party scene and I rather like them. It can work really really well.

You also want to remember the adage of entering late and leaving early. You don’t need to have a prolonged set-up of, whatever it is, of like again, the play-by-play of everything that a character is doing. You want to throw people into the scene when things are basically kind of already happening.

Then you want to leave before they peter out and get boring. I mean this is the rule of thumb for any scene but especially your opening scene. if you don’t start, if you start too early essentially and it’s not dynamic, and it’s boring people won’t read past the first page.

Now I want to talk a bit about prologues. You’ve also probably heard that you shouldn’t start your book with a prologue and I’m gonna reinforce that advice. I say 98% of the time do not have a prologue. The reason for this is is that very, very typically especially in things like fantasy and sci-fi the prologue is from a different point of view or a different perspective or takes place in a different time.

It’s often not the main thrust of your story and your main character, and so prologues can be really off-putting. They can be confusing and they don’t accurately give the reader an idea of what your book is actually about.

This is especially prudent for querying because you really only get that one chance for agents to read your first page but even when it comes to readers picking up your book in a bookstore, a prologue could potentially put them off the story.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules. There are prologues that definitely work. If you have a favorite book and it has a really effective prologue, take a look at it. I will say typically they’re pretty short. They are in line with the tone and the themes of the book, and they typically aren’t from a completely different perspective or point of view from the main character.

How To Begin Writing A Novel – It’s The Beginning That Counts!

How to begin a novel - the beginningPrologues just kind of slow down the pacing cuz beginnings really are all about pacing. Now I want to give you some concrete examples of openings to great books that I think work really really well. It’s tricky to kind of talk in the abstract about, well, how you should start your novel.

I mean, I just did it – I gave you some of these parameters for what you should and shouldn’t do but I find most useful is looking at novels that start really really well. You can like start to pick them apart and see why they work. So I’m gonna start with my perennial and favorite example which is the Hunger Games.

We open with Katniss and it’s actually fairly domestic. It’s essentially that slice of life, that day in the life. It is also the day that everything changes for her, so by showing us Katniss interacting with and taking care of family The Hunger Games tells you a lot about the character of Katniss and the characters that she interacts with, and a lot about the world it gradually starts to reveal.

Kind of who this character is, the world that they live in. From home she goes hunting and hunting and interacting with Gale. The conversation that they have about the reaping and taking care of their families and your name goes in the bowl more than once if you break the rules, etc.

It tells you a lot about the oppressive world that they’re living in, and also literally you know, is barreling you towards that inciting incident. It’s dynamic, it’s interesting. As you’re reading you’re like ‘oh well this is weird. what’s going on?’

I think it’s incredibly effective, so obviously this isn’t a single scene. This is a series of dynamic character and world specific scenes that drive you neatly to the reaping. By the time you get there, you know who Katniss is, you know where she lives you know who she cares about, most importantly.

So when everything happens with the reaping and prim you have an emotional reaction. You are furiously turning the pages to find out what happens next. Another favorite of mine is actually a bit prologue too, but it works really really well and that is Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

The first chapter of Across the Universe takes place hundreds of years before the main thrust of the action of Across the Universe but it is an essential glimpse into the past and setup because it sets up the entire novel.

How to begin writing a book guideYou’re with Amy or in her perspective. She’s with her parents. She’s made the decision to be cryogenically frozen and go on the speech. You’re with her as she’s going through this process and she’s giving you the context of where she is, which fills in the back story and also sets up again the conflict and the stakes.

We get the chance to meet her parents and get a a sense of who Amy is and what she cares about, where she’s going and so following chapters, when it’s a couple hundred years later, she wakes up and you know the plot kicks off.

It’s a very tightly paced novel and you’re already emotionally invested in a very very good opening. A good specific choice for where we start with our character leading up to the inciting incident. I don’t think it would have been quite as effective if it had started on the spaceship with Amy waking up.

I think having that glimpse into the past is really essential in the case of this novel for setting up the plot and the characters. Then there is Frost Blood, which is actually another good example of a prologue that is not a prologue. See if you know how these things work. You can cheat and basically do the same function because the first chapter of Frost blood is essentially kind of like a flashback.

It isn’t but it is. It takes place a year before everything else in the novel, like the main plot, takes place. It is the set up of who Ruby is, the world that she lives in. We become familiar with the characters that she cares about and then it nails you right at the end of the first chapter with the conflict and stakes.

Her mother is murdered in front of her, because of her, so you get her guilt and her feelings and of course why she would have a drive for revenge, which is what fuels the rest of the plot. Now wasn’t a spoiler because it is basically on the jacket flap that Ruby’s mom dies but that is it’s a very exciting setup, because it starts showing her secretly using her powers.

You know immediately that they’re forbidden, that she shouldn’t be doing this, that she lives with her mother and her mother is all she has. Then the soldiers come to town and you know immediately it’s like ‘oh god’ – conflict, stakes – what’s gonna happen?

So that’s another example that I really really like. Talking a bit about some of the choices I have made in my books and how I have started off my novels. I actually tend to favor that slice of life day-in-the-life approach. I like to settle into the characters in their world and who they are before ice them in the face with the inciting incident, so in brightly burning.

How to begin writing a novel infoIt’s really mundane, relatively speaking, the way that I start the book. I hope it’s not boring – it’s mundane in the sense that it is kind of normal everyday life stuff but in the case of you know Where Stella Lives normal everyday life stuff is a bit chaotic.

The book starts with a gravity failure and she has to go to engineering to basically fix the ship. So you know that Stella lives on a ship that has problems. She is an engineer so she’s responsible for fixing those problems. I clue you in really quick to the fact that she hates her job and is trying to escape.

She wants to become a governess, a teacher on another ship and you know in that you know first couple of chapters leading up to the inciting incident, which happens inchapter three or four, which is later than a lot of inciting incidents.

You don’t always have to stick to chapter one or chapter two. Your inciting incident, it’s all a buildup of where she lives, the things that she’s facing, the things that she wants and we know why she can’t have them.

Then Oh inciting incident – she gets what she wants and she goes off on her adventure. Then in my new book So Space Sucks (this would be my NaNoWriMo project) I start with a party. I really love parties so I just go right into it um you know, there’s a party.

I introduce the whole cast of characters and kind of how they interact with their world. This start is very very different to Brightly Burning. Brightly Burning starts immediately, telegraphing to you this is a ship that is falling apart. Things are not going great.

Whereas in my new book in space, it’s set on a very different ship and in a different time in the fleet for my world build and so I’ll just tell you like from a class perspective it’s a very different experience.

It’s a fancy party. I talk about the food and the drinks and the way people are dressed. There’s less dress porn and kind of who is interacting with whom and why it matters. In this case I did stick that inciting incident right at the end of the first chapter, so you have to kind of go with your gut for what beginning and what pacing is going to work for your novel projects.

Also in the case of Space Dunks I do the case of enter late and leave early. I start kind of smack-dab in the middle of the party. It’s almost reached its peak. My character is kind of totally over it. I have her interact with a bunch of people and then she leaves before the party ends, to go deal with stuff.

How to start writing a novel for beginners guidelinesIt would have been boring if I’d started it ‘oh well she’s at her closet and she’s picking out a dress and she puts on her shoes’. What’s the party sound like and what does the party look like. It would have dragged, whereas I started right in the like the the meat of it. so that I could move the plot along.

So those are my main tips first starting your novel in the right place. Think about slice-of-life, think about right before the inciting incident. Think dynamic scenes that show off character, world, conflict and stakes. Who is in your character’s life? Why are they important to them?

What’s in their way? Think about scenes that are gonna illustrate this without having massive info dumps, you know people just talking at each other. These need to be scenes where things happen and people interact with each other and there are micro conflicts within the scene.

Katniss interacting with her mom and her sister – in very different ways those are micro conflicts. Katniss hunting and running into Gale. There are micro conflicts in those scenes and there are conversations that people have but they’re not info dumping.

They’re having these conversations for an organic reason, so think about some of those examples in terms of how you are starting your novel. I hope this helped, though definitely drop some comments down below. This is how I approach starting novels but I’m sure there are things that I haven’t thought of. If you have specific questions hit me up with them – I will answer them in the comments.

If they spark a new idea I will make another video. Thank you so much for watching everyone. If you liked this one I’d love thumbs up. It lets me know that you like the video so I can make more of them. Good luck starting those novels or revising those novels. if you think you’re starting in the wrong place, and as always everyone ‘happy writing’.

How To Begin Writing A Book PDF

Novel Writing Tips For Beginners -The Novel Writing Process

novel writing tips for beginners

Most everyone writes according to a process, even if we sometimes don’t realise it! There are a few who seem to write by the seats of their pants (Pantsers), but most of us need a novel writing process to guide us long the way to a successful novel.

Probably one of the most valuable novel writing tips for beginners is to follow a structure for outlining and writing. There are many out there, such as the Snowflake Method, and others that have been adapted by writers of all levels to suit their own particular needs and writing style.

The first video presents a quite detailed plan for writing a structured novel or book, with useful tips for much-needed discipline. The second addresses the problem of motivation – something which affects us all. The presentation is refreshing because it offers various ideas for overcoming writer’s block and the dreaded feeling of ‘I am not a writer!’

A Working Novel Writing Process – Advice For Beginners

Video Transcript:

Game of Thrones Book Cover - Writing process tipsHeya, book nerds! I’m Meg LaTorre, and on this episode of iWriterly, I thought we’d do something a little different. A lot of you have been asking about the adult fantasy manuscript I’m currently querying and my writing process. So I thought I’d give you a glimpse into my brain’s hard-wiring.

It’s also rather timely, as I’m about to launch into a new project. Keep in mind, every writer has their own unique process. This is just what I’ve found works for me.

Step 1: The idea Usually an idea will crop up during everyday life, and I’ll mull it over in my mind for a few days or weeks and jot down notes as I think of them.

Eventually, the idea either blossoms into a full-fledged story or withers and dies a painful death. … Not really.

Step 2: The plot outline If a story makes it past the idea phase, I’ll then write a plot outline. I really like Vivien Reis’ outline video, which I’ve referenced before in my past videos. To learn more about plot outlining, be sure to check that out. I’ll leave a link in the description below.

Step 3: The character outline I’ll usually write an outline for the main cast of characters, including their physical description, the desire(s) that drive them throughout the story, weaknesses or shortcomings of their characters, and their role in the plot.

This is how I get to know the characters, and it’s extremely helpful for me to reference this outline as I’m writing the story.

Step 4: The chapter-by-chapter outline In case you’re not starting to sense a theme, I love outlines.

At this point, I’ll do the math for my target word count. If I’m aiming for 90,000 words–and there’s an average of 250 words per page and 10-15 pages per chapter–I’ll approximate how many chapters I’ll have in the book.

I’ll write out what’s going to happen in every chapter and try to plan the inciting incident, plot arc, character development, resolution, and so on.

Step 5: Drafting + editing + outside feedback Unlike most writers, I like to get outside feedback on my work as I’m writing and edit as I go. This way, if there are any structural or plot issues, I’ll hopefully discover them early-on. I’ll usually write the first fourth of my book before I start sharing with critique partners.

novel writing methodsStep 6: Re-write the chapter-by-chapter outline In this step, I will try to incorporate any changes I made from the original outline.

In the outline, I’ll write not just what happened during that chapter, but what world-building and character development took place. During this rewrite, I’ll usually notice parts of the story where there are plot holes or scenes that need to be added or removed. I’ll also note if there is too much or not enough world-building.

Step 7: Self-editing Once I’ve drafted the entire manuscript and rewritten the chapter-by-chapter outline with the changes I want to make, I will edit the entire novel on my own.

Step 8: Get feedback from critique partners and beta readers. At this point, I’ll start sharing my manuscript with people in bulk–either the full manuscript or chunks of the book (depending on that person’s personality/editing style). On average, I work with 10-20 critique partners and beta readers per manuscript.

Step 9: Edit + get more feedback. Once I’ve received feedback from my critique partners and beta readers, I’ll assess if there are any themes on people’s feedback, what feedback I agree will improve the story, if I need to make any big structural changes, and edit the whole manuscript again. *Note that I don’t incorporate every piece of feedback I get.

Once I’ve made changes, I’ll share my manuscript with critique partners and beta readers and the process will start all over again.

Step 10: Write a synopsis and query. Once I feel my manuscript is as good as I can possibly make it on my own, I’ll write a two-page synopsis and one-page query letter. For this part, I not only share both documents with critique partners and beta readers, but I’ll also hire freelance editors to make sure I have objectively summarized my story and nailed my pitch.

Thanks for tuning into this episode on iWriterly on my writing process. If you liked what you saw, give the video a thumbs up. It lets me know you like this type of content and want more. If you’re new here, welcome!

Consider subscribing. I post writing-related videos every Wednesday. If you have questions about anything we covered today, leave those in the comments below. As always, KEEP WRITING!

My Crazy Writing Process – Meg LaTorre PDF

Novel Writing Methods That Work – Motivational Tips For Beginners

Video Transcript:

You may have heard some variation on this quote before: “Write a million words— the absolute best you can write, then throw it all away and bravely turn your back on what you have written. At that point, you’re ready to begin.”

All writers want to attain that level of mastery, but reaching the million-word mark seems like a daunting task, especially if you have problems with motivation. Maybe you have countless ideas floating around in your head, yet feel paralyzed when trying to put your imaginings into words. The root of the problem is perfectionism.

Sometimes we’re so in love with our stories that we want them to be born into the world as perfect beings. But that’s what prevents writers from moving from the imagining stage to the creating stage. You have to get used to ugly babies.

Give yourself permission to write CRAP. But this brings us to another problem: We all know we’re supposed to write every day, but we don’t do it! We waste time watching TV or daydreaming instead. So how do we FORCE ourselves to write? Here are six tips on how to do just that.

Number one: Establish a Routine. Writing at the same time and in the same place every day will help you develop good habits. Maybe you write in bed when you first wake up, or at the café you visit during your lunch hour, or at the library between classes.

novel writing workshopAs much as night owls hate to hear it, the morning is the best time to write. Why? Because humans love to procrastinate. Waiting until the evening leaves more room for excuses. Don’t fall into that trap.

Try gradually setting your alarm earlier each day until you’re waking up an hour earlier than usual, then use that time to WRITE first thing in the morning. Avoid checking your email or thinking about what else you have to do later that day.

In addition, don’t research while you’re writing. This time is for pure word-count generation only. Here’s another productivity trick: Write everywhere. On the bus, standing in line, or waiting for dinner to come out of the oven.

If you like the feel of old-fashioned pencil and paper, start carrying around a small notebook. Use note-taking apps to jot down ideas or short descriptions. There are so many short stretches of time that we waste in a day by checking Facebook or browsing Reddit.

By making writing as integral to your daily routine as sleeping or eating, you will develop good habits, and your future self will thank you.

Number two: Eliminate distractions, such as the Internet. You may be tempted to find the perfect synonym or Google pressing questions. What you need is Self-Control. Self-Control is a free app for Mac that allows you to block certain websites for a set amount of time.

StayFocusd and Leechblock are similar services that are extensions for web browsers. There are plenty of others out there as well. Sometimes our loved ones can also interrupt our writing time without knowing it.

However, if you establish a writing routine, you can tell your family, roommates, or significant other that you’re setting aside certain times of the day just for writing. It will be easier for them to respect your schedule if you follow a predictable pattern.

Music can also further delay your writing time, as you might waste time trying to find the perfect song to inspire you. Instead, give your full attention to the task at hand— putting words on the page. Save the headphones for times when you’re brainstorming ideas or plotting.

the novel writing processNumber three: Set daily writing goals for yourself. Writing a novel is a huge task, but if you break it down into smaller chunks, it can feel more achievable. Choose what type of quota you’d like to reach. Maybe you’d like to aim for a thousand words per day, or perhaps you’d rather write an hour a day, regardless of the resulting word count.

You can also aim to complete one scene per day, whether it be the first time the protagonist meets a love interest or the final epic battle sequence. Write chronologically or start with the scene you’re most excited to put on paper.

Here’s another trick to keep in mind: “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck.”

If you get behind on your daily targets, don’t despair. Cut yourself some slack, but really try to avoid putting off your daily writing. If you skip one day, you’re more likely to skip the next one…and the next…and the next.

In addition, people often underestimate the time it takes us to complete a project, so give yourself plenty of leeway when setting goals. The Pomodoro Technique can be another great time management tool.

Set a timer for 25 minutes, and work on your project until it rings. When you’re done, checkmark a piece of paper, and take a five-minute break. Then start the timer again and repeat the cycle.

Once you have completed four of these sessions, or “pomodoros” as they’re called, you can take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. These rest intervals will give your brain time to relax and digest stray thoughts.

If you want to visualize your success, try the Don’t Break the Chain method. It’s very simple: Set your daily writing goal, then take a calendar, and cross off each day that you complete that goal. Your goal is to not “break the chain” or leave any boxes without an X.

If you’re a more extrinsically motivated person, you can try rewarding yourself after each writing session. It could be your favorite kind of chocolate or an episode of some guilty-pleasure TV show. Make sure you only get this reward after writing and not at any other time. You want your mind to associate writing with that reward.

novel writing course on the internet online - course link

Number Four: Try Alternative Forms of Writing. Writing anything is better than writing nothing at all, so if you don’t have the motivation to slug through your main work-in-progress, try something different. How about a writing prompt?

You can put your current cast of characters into the prompt situation, or you can branch out and explore new worlds. Think of these as flash fiction exercises, and try to keep your responses under a thousand words.

Writer’s Digest posts some great weekly prompts and also features a discussion section, where you can share your work and see how others interpreted the prompt. Sometimes it’s easier to write about your own life experiences and opinions rather than pull imaginary ones from thin air.

Think about how you can tap into your own emotions to convey your characters’ feelings more vividly. Write about your first love or a time you felt true fear. Meditate on how it feels to have siblings or to be an only child.

Imagine how different you would be if you grew up with a different religion, in a country on the other side of the world, or as the opposite gender. Start keeping a journal of your daily thoughts.

Fanfiction can be another great way to boost your daily writing, as you’re already working with an established world and familiar characters—but the plot and writing style are entirely your own. How about switching the perspective of the story to a minor character?

Play around with first and third-person. Do some genre-bending by adding fantasy elements to a story set in modern times or switch to an entirely different time period. Although I don’t recommend basing your own novel off of your fanfiction, this can help you find your voice and provide more storytelling practice.

Feedback from reviewers can also be beneficial for identifying your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. Sometimes you need to take your writing a little less seriously and just goof off, and that’s where roleplaying can be really effective.

Roleplaying involves writing a story with someone else, piece by piece. You’re not playing Dungeons & Dragons; you’re exchanging messages. You team up with another person to create a story and then your characters interact.

Depending on your partner, the responses can be anywhere from two sentences to a thousand words. Roleplayers either use instant messaging services like Kik or Skype for real-time conversations or long-form methods like email.

You can explore different genres, from slice-of-life and historical fiction to sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. It may seem a bit geeky at first, but you’ll be surprised by how much easier it is to pop out a thousand words when you’re responding to what someone else has written.

Plus, roleplaying can help you brainstorm new plot ideas, flesh out new types of characters, and produce more completed stories.

Number Five: Enter writing contests. Writing contests and magazines force you to adhere to specific deadlines, and that can push you to finish projects. There are also certain word count and subject you need to follow, and having that kind of box to work in can make it easier to start writing.

Say the contest is looking for a sci-fi story with romantic elements and it must be less than seven thousand words. Oh, and the topic for this month’s magazine is artificial intelligence, and the deadline is in a month.

So, over the course of a month, you can aim to finish one submission with a little writing and revising each day. The thrill of actually completing a project, even it’s just a short story, can be a great motivator, as it tells you that you’re capable of finishing things you’ve started.

Start small and look at contests posted on blogs rather than huge international competitions. Many contests and magazines don’t have entry fees. Others have small entry fees but oftentimes provide a year’s subscription to the online publication with your entry.

With any contest, there are some best practices you should follow: always read past winners to see what the judges are looking for. You should also make a checklist of the submission guidelines you need to follow, read the FAQ page, and double check the formatting requirements before you submit.

Number Six: Take classes and join groups. Creative writing classes mainly focus on short stories, but the lessons you learn can be applied to larger projects. In addition, classes give you an imposed deadline and expose you to new writing styles.

College courses can be expensive, but many community centers, libraries, local art organizations, and online communities offer inexpensive or free classes that you can join. You could also join a writing group, whether it’s a local one that meets in person or an online group.

Grab a writing buddy and use each other to stay committed to your writing goals by sharing your successes and failures, bouncing off ideas and questions, and exchanging pieces for critique.

Feedback is how you grow as a writer, and receiving constructive criticism from professionals in the writing field and from your peers is of vital importance. It’s one thing to write every day, but in order to truly become a better writer, you need to be actively revising and improving upon your work, and that involves critically analyzing your own stories and prose.

Here is one final anecdote to motivate you to write every single day of your life. Imagine two painters. The first painter has been working on his masterpiece for the past three years, meticulously choosing each color and ensuring that every line is perfect.

In that same time period, the second painter has churned out dozens of paintings, experimenting with different types of brushstrokes and color combinations and even adding other mediums.

Sure, some of them are pretty bad—awful, actually. But there a few that are quite GOOD, as if the artist has discovered his own unique style. Now apply the idea of the two painters to the writing process.

The quality of your writing is obviously important, but producing a large quantity of art can provide valuable insight. Both aspects are important, but don’t become too obsessed with one or the other.

With all this information in mind, go try the 30-day challenge. Pick one or two of the methods listed here, and stick to a routine for a full month. Maybe you’d like to write for an hour every day and mark an X on your calendar, or experiment with a daily writing prompt each morning, or even start an elaborate role-play set in feudal Japan.

Whatever you do, keep writing.

How To Motivate Yourself To Write Every Day PDF

How To Write A Fiction Book – Mode Of Narration

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The next thing I’d like to talk with you about is mode of narration. Mode of narration constitutes an important decision that you’re going to have to make in your writing right up front. That’s basically how you’re going to tell your story, how it’s going to be constructed.

Let’s look at mode of narration in detail. It’s composed of three components.

  • The first is point of view or POV. This is basically who’s telling the story.
  • The next is voice. That’s basically how they’re telling the story.
  • And then there’s tense. That’s basically when did the story take place, past, present or future.

Let’s dig into more detail by looking at point of view once again. You have three point of views to consider.

  • First-person – typically the narrator is yourself. The word ‘I’ pops up an awful lot. You’re telling the story from your point of view. ‘I ran to catch the train.’
  • Second person is rarely used so we’re not going to spend a lot of time discussing it. It would be ‘you ran to catch the train’.
  • Third person, which is also very common, is ‘he ran to catch the train’. Here you’re talking about another person.

Video Transcript (cont’d)

Writing Fiction for Beginners Tips – Start Writing Fiction The Right Way

Now third person is possibly one of the most common points of view in writing but first person can give you a very intimate feel and can get you very close to the narrator of the story. After all, the the narrator the story is yourself, whereas third person is more for gathering maybe large groups and stuff like that.

Next let’s look at voice and this we’re going to look at in two pieces. First, what kind of voices can we use for first and second person? Well, actually first person, since we’re not considered second person. The first is an internal monologue, which is what I was just having.

Best how to write fiction booksThere a stream of consciousness, you might say or also know. This is the rattlings of the internals of the of the mind. Unless you’re a very advanced writer, I wouldn’t suggest this particular voice. It’s hard to keep the reader captivated with a stream of consciousness.

More common, in fact the most common for first person is character. The narrator can be involved or not involved in the story but there’s basically a character who is narrating the story.

Okay, the final is epistolary, which are letters or diary entries. Dracula and The Bridges of Madison County are two examples of stories that took heavy use of this. Third person has its own particular voices. We have a subjective voice, which means that you’re the narrator, knows of the character’s thoughts.

He is aware of one or two characters thoughts and can convey a character’s thoughts and feelings. An example would be ‘Tom hated winter and was miserable’. The narrator knows what Tom is thinking. Another is third-person objective, where the narrator knows no character’s thoughts.

This would become ‘by his actions, one would guess Tom hated winter and was miserable’. We can only tell things by external appearances, since we know of no characters thoughts, at least we being the narrator. Finally there’s third-person omniscient, where you know everything.

How to write fiction tips

Example of that would be ‘winter was upon the earth and all creatures were miserable’. How else would we know that, unless we had the gods eye point-of-view? The last component is tense. This is when the story happened.

The tense is very simple. Past tense – ‘I ran to catch the train’, talking about something that happened in the past. Present, which is very uncommon – ‘I run to catch the train’ and future tense, which is very uncommon – ‘I will run the catch the train’.

Okay, this is pretty easy. Past tense is the most common and it’s one that we’re gonna suggest using. That’s the three components. If you put them together now, if I’ve confused you let’s make things much simpler. There are two common choices in popular fiction.

  1. The first is ‘first person character, past tense’. Here the narrator is I and you’re telling the story from your perspective. You’re a character that’s either involved in the story or external to the story and you’re telling it. Past tense – as the story has happened in the past ‘I hadn’t planned to kill myself late that night but I hadn’t ruled it out either’.
  2. Next we’ll look at the second most choice, ‘third-person subjective, past tense’. Here it becomes ‘Tom hadn’t planned to kill himself that night but he hadn’t ruled it out either’.

Here you’re talking about a third person externally and you’re getting into his thoughts. You’re being subjective about it, you’re writing in past tense … I would suggest choosing ‘first person character, past tense’ or ‘third-person subjective, past tense’. Go back and review the slides if you’re not quite sure what that means.

Books on how to write fiction successfully

Finally, rules of narration. One of the reasons that I told you about these rules is that it’s important that you use a consistent point of view, voice and tenses when you write your story. Don’t

change from present to past tense. Don’t head hop too much, as far as point of view and don’t go from omniscient down to a personal.

Don’t jump from ‘I’ to ‘he’. Stick with what you’re doing and then of course there’s always the ever-present rule ‘don’t worry about breaking the rules’. If you know what you’re doing it’s okay to mix narrative modes.

In fact, I know in one case my wife successfully, in the Butterscotch Jones mystery series, used first-person point of view for the main narrator and then jumped to other characters minds using third-person to tell their story of everybody else from that story. It worked very well.

That’s all that I have to say on the rules of narration. I hope that I haven’t confused you too much and that I’ve given you something to think about. What are gonna be your own personal modes of narration or your own personal mode?

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How To Write A Story Plot

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Did you know that story and plot aren’t necessarily always the same thing?

In casual conversation the words are more or less interchangeable but when you’re actually sitting down to write something, it’s important to understand that these two are independent factors that you must consider.

It can be kind of difficult to understand the difference and why that difference is important, so stick with me for a second. To put it simply, plot is two people shooting at each other. Story is why they’re shooting at each other.

The why here isn’t because the hero has to beat the bad guys so we can disable their big doomsday weapon. That’s still plot. The ‘why’ is what’s going on internally with the character. This is story – what the narrative that you’re crafting is about.

At its core, story cuts to the heart of why the characters are doing the things that they’re doing and where they are. The plot is then the sequence of events that they go through that tie the novel or movie together.

The plot is comprised of the things that they actually do, the events that move them from one scene to the next. If plot is what where when and how, then story is who and why.

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Video Transcript (cont’d)

How To Come Up With A Story Plot

Notice that he didn’t say that he wanted to go blow up a space station or even to beat the Empire but that’s what happens at the end of the movie. Luke has a drive that is relevant to the physical quest that he goes on but doesn’t completely define that quest.

His internal desire of the force stuff, the legacy stuff, wanting to be a hero – that’s the story. The plot is about stopping the bad guys. This is important to understand because any two given movies or books or TV shows or whatever could potentially have the same plot.

For example, acquire a bunch of money illegally but the emotional context behind why the characters are doing the things that they’re doing could be vastly different. In the same vein the emotional context could be approximately the same but the events could be vastly different.

Now this may sound like some high concept nonsense that only has a place in like a pretentious French art house theater or a college classroom somewhere in Southern California. Like this only applies to your highbrow stuff here, citizen Kane’s here, 7th seals but this stuff applies to everything.

How to develop a story plot tipsThe relationship between story and plot can make or break a narrative. If your film or game or book or whatever, it doesn’t have some kind of central story holding it together, adding meaning to the proceedings, then it’s just a bunch of people doing things in a linear progression to the conclusion.

Look at any below-average episode of a crime drama ‘oh no someone has been killed!’ The characters interview some people, picked up a false lead, chasing guy or two and eventually have a shootout with or arrest the person who did it. How exciting.

This is an example of a narrative that’s basically all plot and no story. I think I’ll just come back for the season finale when all the emotional stuff is gonna happen. On the other hand having a film that’s all story and no plot means you wind up with the kind of pretentious fluff that film critics love but general audiences can’t sit through.

Movies about people sitting in a room and being depressed. They go places and talk to people but never really do anything. A lot of people just don’t like watching these films because there isn’t much happening.

Now if you’re some kind of genius or insanely lucky you can theoretically get by with just one of these. Maybe your film has such flawlessly perfect technical execution and it’s just so thrilling and charming that you don’t really need a deep story to become invested in it.

Or maybe your story is so emotionally evocative and your lead actors are so magnetic that you don’t really need much of a plot to steer them along. The thing is, if you lean more in one direction or the other, your success is really going to depend on execution.

If you’re writing a novel or whatever you’ve just got to play to your strong suits.If you’re a good enough writer that you can make your book work leaning heavily into either plot or story then good on you, but especially from a screenwriters perspective for film and television it’s usually a safer bet to try and balance both, unless you’re writing for a specific filmmaker.

How to make a story plot guideLet me explain what I’m getting at. Raiders of the Lost Ark is a really good movie, it’s a classic and people love it. It’s also definitely more plot heavy than story heavy. There’s a bit going on with Indies faith in his relationship with Marian but at the end of the day the movie is about punching Nazis.

It works because spielberg is a master of directing kinetic compelling action. The film is tightly paced and the whole thing has a nice easy flow to it but in the hands of the wrong filmmaker the movie would probably be a disaster.

If you asked Michael Bay to make Raiders of the Lost Ark – indeed, yeah it’d probably be pretty good. This script plays in strong suits but if you handed this script to Woody Allen he wouldn’t really know what to do with it.

In that same vein, if you hand Michael Bay that ‘Lost in Translation’ script, he’s probably not going to handle it with quite the same precision as Sophia Coppola did, but you know Woody Allen would probably make a halfway decent movie from that script.

I know I’m making some serious generalizations here but I hope that you can understand my point. I just want to demonstrate that you can really lean heavily into one or the other camp but it requires a particular skill set a mastery of whatever form of entertainment you’re working in be it an episode of a TV show or a film or a novel or whatever.

So now that we understand how these two can work on their own when they’re in the right extremely talented hands, let’s talk about why putting them together is a special kind of magic. What’s important to understand is that neither of these things is necessarily more important than the other.

A lot of times when you’re sitting in a classroom setting it can kind of sound like story chasing after the themes. The deeper meaning and symbolism or whatever can trump the actual action of the story but that is not necessarily the case.

How to come up with a story plot nowCreating something super deep and symbolic and inaccessible actually takes a lot less effort than creating a narrative with a compelling story and an accessible driving plot. In the best case scenarios you’re actually going to be looking at a final product where either half the equation is strong enough to support an entire film on its own.

‘No McFly ever amounted to anything in the history of Hill Valley’, the history is going to change. What if they say ‘get out of it kid, you got no future’? I mean I just don’t think I could take that kind of rejection. I’m from the future. I came here in a time machine that you invented. now I need your help to get back to the year 1985.

You could just have a movie about a guy trying to make a name for himself and better his family and you could just have a movie about a guy who gets trapped in the past and has to find the energy supply necessary to return to his own time.

Either of these could be their own thing but together they produce a movie that people seem to like quite a bit. The movie is fun to watch and it’s fun to think about or in other words it’s good to chill with and it’s good to get hot with.

On that subject let’s briefly look at The Incredibles, which is another movie that’s so good to chill with and good to get hot with. It’s got two distinct halves that blend together to make something stronger than the sum of its parts and that can be enjoyed on different levels.

The story is about a guy going through a midlife crisis. He hates his job and he has some family problems but he’s gonna get over himself so the whole family can get along and be a better healthier unit. Mow that’s a nice story in theory but without a plot it had just be two hours of people arguing with each other and being sad.

The most exciting scene in the movie would probably be this bit, if it even made the final cut. On the other hand, the plot is about a superhero getting called out of retirement to come and kill a robot but it turns out that the robot is a specifically designed superhero killing machine.

How to write a story plot for beginnersThe story on its own is interesting but it might get a little bit too serious. The plot on its own is exciting but after you watch the movie once or twice and see all of the neat explosions and fight scenes, there really wouldn’t be a whole lot to draw you back in.

But with the two combined you have an exciting, well paced film that keeps your attention but also has enough going on under the surface to keep it engaging upon repeat viewings. The real trick to all of this, the real thing that makes writing so difficult, is finding the perfect way of combining both elements together.

Like if you just put peanut butter on some bread and you stop there, then you’ve just got sticky bread. Nobody wants that but if you put jelly or jam on some bread and you didn’t toast the bread ahead of time now you’ve just got untoasted toast.

You can’t put that in the toaster. Now when you put the two together you have both elements blended together so that on a second to second scene to scene level you’re getting both ingredients at the same time and you can’t even really tell the difference anymore.

I don’t know, I kind of feel like I’m losing this metaphor. Maybe I should have gone with an Oreo cookie because they’ve got two different parts but you can take them apart and eat them in so many different ways and there are so many different flavors to choose from.

Wow I sure can’t wait to try watermelon Oreos. Speaking of watermelon Oreos, let’s talk about another awesome thing. This movie is so good it could just coast on flawless technical execution and a decent plot, but it doesn’t need to.

Developing A Story Plot For A Novel

All parts of a story plotOkay, just like most James Bond films, the movie opens with a big stunt sequence that is only kind of sort of related to the rest of the film. It’s an absolutely fantastic chase sequence and it’s an exciting enough scene that it doesn’t really need to be anything more than just exciting.

But this scene and the scenes immediately following it all serve to tell us about our main character James Bond. This guy is chasing this bomb maker here and the bomb guy is more agile than Bond and does a bunch of crazy parkour stunts but bond is still able to keep up with Bomberman through a combination of smarts and brute force.

He uses everything in his environment to his advantage. The bad guy basically exists in the moment. He reacts to things as they happen and doesn’t really plan ahead, so even though bond has a hard time keeping up with him physically, he’s really always two steps ahead.

We also see that bond is vulnerable. He botches jumps, he takes a couple of hits here and there and, since he’s not invincible, there’s still some tension in the scene despite his admirable intelligence and strength.


Add this to the fact that we’re told he’s chasing a terrorist and the fact that our hero is me, he’s Daniel Craig, and you’ve got a character you want to root for. The audience wants to cheer for this guy and see him succeed. This is all great plot stuff.

The other big thing that we learn about Bond in this scene is that he’s really driven and focused. He takes impossible risks to keep the chase up. The sequence is so exciting and it sucks you in so much, that a lot of people in the audience might not notice the moment when bond makes a huge mistake.

Bomberman runs into an embassy and thinks he’s escaped. Any reasonable person would call off the chase at this point but bond doesn’t. He jumps right over the fence. If you sorm into an embassy, you violate the only absolutely inviolate rule of international relationships and why? So you could kill a nobody.

Important elements of a story plotWe wanted to question him, not to kill him. The same drive, an obsession with victory that made Bond such an appealing hero during the chase are turned on their head. We see that, even though he was thinking ahead in terms of the chase, he wasn’t thinking ahead in terms of the big picture.

We’re trying to find out how an entire network of terrorist groups is financed and you give us one bomb maker. Hardly the big picture, wouldn’t you say? They’re doing the job properly was secondary to winning, to beating the guy, that he’d spent so long chasing.

After all that incredible stunt work and all the blood and sweat, what was he’s just supposed todo – walk away and try again another day? Come on – he earned that victory. Any thug can kill. I want you to take your ego out of the equation and you judged the situation too special.

Just like this, in the first twenty minutes we’ve pretty much set up the conflict that Bond we’ll be dealing with for the entire run of the film. We know that Bond will pursue his enemies well beyond the point of reason and save lives as a result, but we also know that same blind passion and drive to win will see the people around him get hurt or worse.

The plot is about stopping some terrorists from getting some money. The story is about Bond contending with his own faults. He’s so self-assured and confident in his abilities, that he takes unnecessary risks and lands himself in trouble. Because of it you lost, because of your ego.


This is good storytelling right here. You see how much we learned about this guy just from one simple chase scene and the dialogue following it and how it sets up something interesting and relatable for the rest of the film.

Now all of this may be really obvious to some of you but other people gotta be filled in on this kind of stuff. Writing anything really great is not easy. It takes a little education and years of practice to get good at this kind of stuff and it’s not restricted to a hoity-toity artsy nonsense.

In fact, I would say they’re writing a truly good story that can be enjoyed by just about anyone is infinitely harder than writing some abstract or symbolic material. Plots and story are two important tools for engaging your audience and making sure that whatever you say sticks with them along after they’ve moved on.

Learning the difference between the two and mastering how to use them in conjunction is one of the most important tricks that a new writer can learn. Thanks for watching this whole shindig. I’ve got some other videos you might like and hopefully I’ll get around to making some more videos about writing and storytelling in the near future.

Hard to say for sure, when you’re a busy college student. If you want to see someone break this sort of stuff down on a scene to scene across an entire feature film, you should check out Pirates of the Caribbean, accidentally genius by reality punch films. Really awesome video – can’t recommend it highly enough.

Or you could stick around and watch me talk about how one of the biggest video game publishers in the world sabotage one of their own releases and their own reputation with a horribly mismanaged marketing campaign. Bye.

How to write a story plot PDF

How To Write An Outline For A Book

How to write an outline for a book - featured image

Now that you’ve cracked the foundation of an idea, let’s talk about how to bring it to life in an outline. There is a confusing array of outline methods out there – snowflake, visual maps, flashlight outlining, and once again the surprising thing is that most of the people who are creating these methods have never been published.

I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to outline with these different approaches as well but then it struck me that most of these outline methods were actually trying to help me come up with an idea. I already had an idea, so my task was actually much easier, since all I needed was to express my idea in the simplest way possible.

Now I’ll show you the simple formula to create a story framework from the idea. The formula is l-o-c-k, or lock. This was actually created by James Scott Pelley and I find it very, very useful. So what is lock?

  • L stands for lead
  • O for objective
  • C for conflict
  • K for knockout

Every great story follows the same construct. There is a lead, the protagonist, who has a burning objective and faces an increasing crescendo of conflict in his or her attempt to accomplish the objective.

Eventually there’s a final knockout in the end. Either the lead gets his objective or not, but perhaps the outcome is mixed. He gets something different than he thought. That’s it LOCK -lead,objective, conflict, knockout.

How To Outline Your Novel – A Practical Guide

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Video Transcript (cont’d)

Let’s take the Hunger Games for instance. At a very physical level the core of the story is about the protagonist wanting to survive. In The Hunger Games that’s our objective, everything that happens in the Hunger Games is a conflict, with the eventual knockout being she survives, but with a little twist.

Now take a more classic story. Captain Ahab wants to get Moby Dick the whale. The core of the story is about the conflict in the path to reach the whale. In the eventual knockout, he loses. This is at a very functional level.

At a more metaphorical level his true objective is to fight the man, the inhumane system and Captain Ahab’s knockout is a reminder for man to let nature be, which leads us to an important conclusion.

As you create your Lock for your story, think of both the physical and the metaphorical version of it. So what’s the Lead’s objective physically and what is that objective a symbol of?In my case, for instance for the Yoga of Max’s Discontent, this is what I had written.

The lead is Max, a Wall Street banker from the Bronx, who’s exposed to violence and suffering all his life. His objective at a physical level is to go on a solitary quest to the Indian Himalayas to find a teacher who can help me make sense of his past.

How to outline a book tipsHis metaphorical objective is man’s classic quest for the meaning of mortality. The conflict he faces along the journey is extreme hardship in nature, both in the Himalayan mountains and the burning South Indian Plains.

His metaphorical conflict is the struggle to relinquish his attachment to physical and emotional discomfort, to realize his soul. The knockout – obviously I won’t reveal yet – but the point here is that for the right depth in the story, it should have both a physical and a metaphorical element.

This will come automatically to you once you know your character in greater depth. Everything flows from the character’s motivation, but we’ll touch on that in the next section. For now just use this basic Lock structure to create a macro framework for your novel.

One question you may have is ‘what if my character’s objective changes as he or she goes through the novel?’ This will definitely happen, because the great character transforms through the course of the story. At this change, when you define the Lock, think of the core of your story, the central objective and the central conflict in it.

Then you can deconstruct the pieces around it. When the character starts off he may have a different objective. Then as he goes through the story his objective change is to be aligned to the core objective you’ve defined.

In the end it may change again but the protagonists core objective is the central construct of your whole story. Now let’s understand how a detailed outline emerges from the frame. First off remember there are only two stories in all literature – ‘one man goes on a quest’ or ‘a stranger comes to town’.

Take any story it’s one of those categories. Harry Potter goes on a quest. In To Kill a Mockingbird, a man comes into a town becaue of a court trial. In some form of the other your story is going to be one of these.

How to outline a chapter in a novel guideFor our purpose let’s use man on a quest and break it down a little. Any story has a three-act structure, the beginning, the middle and the end. Overlaying the Lock frame, this essentially means in the beginning your task is to set up the lead.

The objective, the middle, is all about the conflict that’s stopping him or her from getting the objective. The ending is the knockout, where he or she either gets his objective or doesn’t. We’ve talked about the principles about how to craft excellent beginning, middle and ending in the next module but these are the broad sections under which I want you to construct an outline.

I’m going to use the arc ‘the typical hero’s journey’ to break the outline into smaller pieces. In the beginning, the lead is in his or her ordinary world and an inciting incident occurs. The lead understands his or her objective, and he or she is then set out into the extraordinary world.

That’s kind of the role of the beginning. The middle, the lead faces one conflict after another, physical and metaphorical in this extraordinary world. He or she wins some, loses some, but with each conflict his or her understanding about himself or herself deepens.

The conflict reaches a crescendo. The lead faces a ‘dark night of the soul’, his or her darkest deepest moment, the blackest night before the dawn. Now that the middle has ended you move to the ending.

How to outline a chapter tipsIn the ending the lead uses everything he or she has learned in the story to face the final conflict. Eventually the lead wins or loses, but in every case he or she is a changed person, deeper and wiser because of the journey.

Every ‘man goes on a quest story’ follows a similar outline. Take Harry Potter – he is in an ordinary world. The inciting incident occurs in the form of Hagrid delivering the letter. Harry leaves for Hogwarts where all the action happens and it keeps building.

Eventually he has to find something deep within himself to defeat Waldemode, So the same construct works every time. To note – this is a broad guideline not a chapter by chapter breakdown. Your chapters will vary based on your story.


Also then the multiple characters along the way in the ordinary and the extraordinary world that will propel the lead story forward. We’ll talk about character development in the next section.

Finally, I’m going to share a secret with you to maximize your publishing success. The purists would say it’s too formal, but I’ve experimented with this and know it works. Your beginning should be no more than 20% of your story. That’s no more than 60 pages for 300 page novel, ideally lesser, say 10% which is 30 pages.

The middle should be the majority, that is 80% of your story. The ending once again should be ideally 10% of your story, the last 30 pages but no greater than 15% or 45 pages. Trust me, I’ve experimented extensively with this.

For example, as soon as I cut my beginning from 60 pages to 30 pages my third novel acceptance rate doubled. If you reflect more the reason for this is very logical. As we talked on the onset, a story experience becomes immersive only once the readers enters a new world, so the earlier you get into it (credibly of course) the better.

Now your second writing exercise is to create your detailed outline. Write down your LOCK, then use the beginning, middle and end outline to break your story into small pieces. That’s it, you are done with the skeleton of a best-selling novel. Next we learn how to infuse it with flesh and blood.

How To Write An Outline For A Book PDF

How To Outline A Novel Using Trello

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Video Transcript:

I really quickly wanted to show you how I outline my books in Trello. Sometimes I use this method, sometimes I don’t, but I really wanted to show it because I don’t see a lot of people really using this.

I actually do it more to business stuff and how to kind of manage your team, but I do think it’s a really cool way to organize your work in progress. If you have more than one book you’re working on, it’s actually a really cool idea.

I thought I would put it out there, because I do totally believe that writer’s block happens less when you have an outline. The reason that there are Pantsers in the world, is because you don’t have an outline.

My name is Kayla Walker. I post travel writing and motivational videos. so if that sounds good to you go ahead and click ‘Subscribe’. If you are on Facebook, go ahead and like this Facebook page and let’s get started.

How to outline a novel infoOkay, so this is Trello and we are going to go to my outlining board. This is just like a sample one that I made. I just made up random names for you guys. I have a character profiles cards, I have a settings profiles card, and I have a chapter one.

I’m just gonna show you a couple ways to do this, that’s why I didn’t really fill it out. These character profiles are self explanatory, so you would have these and then you can click on them and Trello actually lets you have due dates and attachments.

Ideally, what you would do with these files is, you would have the file of your character profile and attach it, or you can even do type of checklist. Now what I was going to suggest is, first of all you know, obviously you want character profiles and setting profiles.

I don’t know if you want to do a chapter one, with kind of scenes and chapter 2, and chapter 3. What’s really nice is, you can really just move cards around. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to do that with setting profiles, but if you wanted to do that with chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3, that’s OK.

If your mind works where you want to do just act 1, act 2, act 3 – that would be great as well. Something I was going to suggest is, if you use Trello, a great way to track your progress and we’re gonna move this ‘track your progress’ card.

It’s the first thing you do and it’s almost going to be like your checklist, and it’s gonna tell you how far along you are in writing your novel. Here I’m going to show you what actually we’re going to do. We’re going to hit ‘checklist’ and we’re going to title a checklist.

So we’re going to hit different items – we’re gonna hit all the things you need for your novel. We’re gonna hit ‘book cover design’, we’re gonna hit your actual formatting file. For the sake of time I’m going to say that you have five chapters and if you have an epilogue. If you don’t, I don’t know, we can even hit ‘find beta readers’ and edit your novel.

I don’t even know if that’s everything. This is me and going off the top of my head but I wanted to show you the kind of checklist feature. You can even hit a due date for each thing so that’s really cool to kind of keep you accountable for your goals, whether it be a few months down the line or whatever.

How to outline a story guidelinesHowever far you are but what you can do is say, you wrote chapter one, you know or you got that copyright page done. Maybe you wrote chapter four and you skip around and you got your book synopsis. You are able to say ‘okay, I really really make in progress’ and being able to add attachments into this.

Even if you do get that book cover design down the line or that formatting file, obviously it wouldn’t be early in the game, but you are able to attach those design files into Trello. I wouldn’t suggest only having it in Trello but it’s nice that everything be in one place.

As you can see, you have four out of thirteen done of your checklist items. so I would keep that over here. This is a way to outline with Trello. This is a simple way I just wanted to show you guys in quick video. I don’t do act 1, act 2, act 3 – I’m much more of a chapter 1, chapter 2,chapter 3 kind of person.

I just love how you are able to take the scenes and just say, you know, Harry Met Sally. Switch them see how you like one after the other. If you are a planner, you could have more cards in the beginning besides settings, besides characters. Maybe you can have some kind of magic and sciences cards, anything like that.

I just wanted to give you more of an idea of a different way to outline. Also, when you fill out the chapters, however many you think you’ll do, I know in the work-in-progress I’m doing – it has like 16 chapters. It actually prints out really really nicely, so once I’m done writing the scenes, I actually just highlight them

Because I’m more of a pen and paper type person, this is just a different way and I wanted to show it to you because I know not a lot of people like outlining. I truly really believe it helps when you have a better way to plan. Let me know what you think in the comments below and I will see you guys later.