Outlining a Novel: Post #2

   Step One: The Bones

 •Set a goal for final word count.
•Break that into chapters
•Build a framework
•My method:
–I shoot for 80,000 words as a general rule.
–I like short chapters: 8-12 pages, approximately 2500 words/chapter
–This breaks into 28 chapters

Set up the bones. Open a word doc, title it outline and Make a capital I. Type Chapter One. Hit enter and II will appear. Word is smart like that. Now, keep doing that until you have the number of chapter headers you need for your manuscript. Now you have a frame work to work on.

Major Plot & Story Arc

•Chapter 1 is an intro/set up chapter & arguably the most important one of your novel
•Chapter 28 is a recap/wrap up chapter
•Who are your characters?
•Fill in the between chapters
–Major plot twists
–Action scenes / story revelations
–Logical Sequence

Now I fill in what I know. In a romance, you need to introduce hero and heroine in the first chapter, some publishers want them to meet on the opening page. In a mystery you need to find a body in that opening chapter. First chapters are what the whole manuscript hinges on. Agents, editors and readers all agree, if chapter one doesn’t pull them in, the whole ship is sunk.

Start filling in what you know needs to be in the book. You can always move it later with a quick cut and past. At this stage it can feel like a putting a puzzle together, but unlike an actual puzzle, you’re in control of what the picture will look like when you finish.

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