Outlining a Novel: Post #4

What else can you put in your outline? Everything! Today we make notes about things easily forgotten when a writer has the main events in focus.

Family & Occupation

•Document the dailies:
–School or office
–Peers and co-workers impact your MC too
–Family is relentless & we are obligated
–Add stress and flavor to enrich the MC’s life by connecting readers in ways they can relate
–Grandma’s 80th birthday, little sister’s recital etc

Remember, everyone’s got to eat.





Family and occupation. It’s easy to get immersed in the main plot arc and forget your MC doesn’t live in a void. His or her life is still happening around them. Add reminders in your outline to include a scene or at least a phone call with someone from work, a friend or family member. Readers relate to juggling all those things. Your MC should too. Those cutie pies above are my kids. In the picture on the left, that was what they looked like when I first typed “How to write a book” into Google. The picture on the right is what they looked like this time last year. A whole lot happens while we’re writing. Don’t forget your characters have the same experience. Life keeps moving forward around them despite whatever they are facing personally. Use your outline to remind yourself to make reference to the people and events in your characters’ lives that impact them. The story doesn’t happen in a vacuum.


•Relatable. Readers understand love relationships. Use this to connect them to your MC
•Nothing complicates things faster than a little well placed chemistry
•If romantic tension plays a role in your novel, add that into your outline
–Main arc: layer in the building tension
–Side plot: pepper in the confusing/conflicting emotions
–Use it to further the story, burden the MC so they can be victorious later
Romance may not be your genre. Romance might not have any relevance to your story, but if it does, even in a remote way, you can plot reminders into the outline. This helps you remember they’re happening. There’s nothing worse than starting a story arc and dropping it. Readers will remember something was unfinished and they won’t love you for it. So, consider a romance thread or your MCs romantic connection, and drop a few bullet points in your outline as reminders to address the romance. Romance is a great way to give your character problems everyone can understand.
More in the next post on outlining. Again, please let me know if you have any questions about how you can use outlining in your novel. I’m here to help!

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