Outline Your Novel & Write A First Draft: Creative Writing Mastery | Madeleine Rose Jones | Skillshare

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Outline Your Novel & Write A First Draft: Creative Writing Mastery

teacher avatar Madeleine Rose Jones, Writing & Lifestyle

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

17 Lessons (24m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Using Notion & Other Technology

    • 4. Finding Ideas

    • 5. Sentence Game

    • 6. Characters

    • 7. Brainstorming

    • 8. How Many Scenes?

    • 9. Order

    • 10. Expand Scenes

    • 11. Divide

    • 12. 12better

    • 13. Mood Board Focus

    • 14. Research Tips

    • 15. Time Management

    • 16. Writing Your First Draft

    • 17. Conclusion

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About This Class


Ever started to write a novel, but only to give up early? Don't worry. Many writers struggle to write their first novel draft. Madeleine was one of them, until in 2020 where she discovered the joys of outlining. In this Skillshare class, she shares her method in outlining a novel. It's perfect for any writers who feel stuck. She believes you can make progress in your literary journey, regardless of where you are at. With short, punchy video lessons - you'll get there. 

This course also has a fun class project. The software requirements include a word processor, a place to write notes (such as Notion) and a tool for graphic design, such as Canva. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Madeleine Rose Jones

Writing & Lifestyle


Hello, I'm Madeleine. And I've been there. Looking up at the ceiling, strolling around the garden, gazing at the stars... with hope that I'm creating the next big thing. Yet I stopped looking... and started to write. I've written science fiction, historical dramas, and speculative thrillers that keep the reader guessing. Oh, and I've learned from the best. Studying creative writing at Macquarie University improved my writing, and I'm excited to share it with you. 

Since 2019, I've run the literature & history blog Snowy Fictions, where I post short stories, articles and listicles all about the magic existing in both fact and fiction. My blog posts are used as educational guides for high schools in the United States, Canada and Australia. I've also given tal... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Writing a novel is hard. There's no getting around it. For years. I struggled to write a novel. I'll start with the story with big plans for success. But around the 4000 word mark, something happened. I lose my way. Eva, I become so overwhelmed with the task on hand, or I simply lose focus. But regardless of give up and the novel would never be finished. Then in 2020, I discovered the joys and magic of outlining. I'm planning a novel well in advance of writing it. Because of this, I managed to finish my first ever novel, over eight months of solid writing. And I believe you can do it too. In this Skillshare class. You'll learn the tricks and tools in outlining a novel of your own. We'll brainstorm scenes, consider B cheats, and complete an awesome class project. It's perfect for procrastinators who are creative rioters. Wherever you are in your journey. I'm glad you're here. Let's get started and write your first novel. 2. Class Project: As I'm sure you all know, Skillshare classes all have a project section. Don't worry. I'm not asking you to post your outline. I understand their personal to each rider. And you don't want to give away the secrets to your novel. Instead, you'll create a mood board for your novel. A mood board can be a collection of photos, illustrations, quotes, colons, and more. If you need inspiration, I suggest going into Pinterest and typing in the boards for excellent results. In the class projects section, I've posted my own moodboard for the novel I completed last year. As you can say, it's a time skip novel set primarily in World War two. You should work on your mood board as this course progresses and no towel, it will expand and change as your outline develops. The reason why moodboard to so effective is because of motivation. When I look at a mood board I've made, I get inspired and motivated to write. I also believe mood boards remind us that our stories matter, that we can make a difference. If you need certain technology to make a mood board. There's a free version of Canva you can use. There are of course, other apps. You have all the options available to you. And I really hope he make the most of this class project. 3. Using Notion & Other Technology: When outlining your novel, it helps to be organized. In this video, I will discuss notion in particular. But there are plenty of other apps you can use. I highly recommend using an app that's specifically for note-taking. You will use it to write your novel, but you'll use it for outlining. This brings me to Notion, which is what I currently use to outline my novels. Notion is an app with plenty of features and is fantastic for creating tables, checklists, Wikis, and more. This afraid plan available, which many hues quite successfully, of course, notion is not your only option. But you really want a place to jot down any ideas and a way to organize them. Now, you may think about using Google Docs or Microsoft Word. And while they are fine to ideas from, they don't have the functionality or power of something like Notion, trailer will to-do list. Another alternative you may want to consider to outline your novel is to do everything by hand. If that's your thing and something that interests you. Go ahead. I hope you find a technology solution that works for you. 4. Finding Ideas: All right, finding ideas is a big challenge for any writer without getting into a debate about whether riders blocks exists. I think we can all agree that sometimes it's difficult to generate ideas. Often the pressure of writing a whole novel can seem daunting and impossible. But I am here to tell you that it is definitely possible. What I want you to do is write down a few interests of your arm. You may have an interest in medieval history, for example. After you've completed that task, we're going to dig a bit deeper. I want you to write down your personal theories. Don't worry, no one has to say them. A good way to generate story ideas is to combine a personal fee with an interest. For example, you may be afraid of aging, has a lot of people are, and as said earlier, have an interest in medieval history. A result is a story about a new death experience or a plague. Medieval New York share. But there are many ways you can generate story ideas. But the best stories always rate as if I'm getting to know something intimate about someone. This is why you shouldn't be afraid to pull elements of yourself into the novel you right? Therefore, finding story IDs requires some experimentation and openness to new ways of writing. It's hard to give concrete advice about this because every rise Harris different. But if stock, triad some writing prompts or exercises, once you have your story ID, it's time to stop the sentence game. 5. Sentence Game: Now that you have your story idea, it's time to play a little game. I want you to sum up your story in one sentence. This sentence should capture the stories conflict and indicates at least one character. If you have multiple sentences or a struggling to contain all of your ideas into one coherent line. Write down as many sentences. You can come up with fuel, use some lighter. In this stage, you may want to create a mind map connecting any ideas you have. Either way. This exercise should clarify the main concept in your story. 6. Characters: Before we get into saints, it's time to think of characters. As, I'm sure, you know, characters are absolutely fundamental to storytelling. And without them, you have very little story or reason for the radar to get involved. Write down any rough sketches you have of your characters, and make sure you mentioned the main source of conflict they experience. You may also want to write down particular details and traits about the characters, such as the age where they were born, and the behavioral traits, beliefs, all interests. It's also good to consider the relationship characters have between each other. I've really want you to focus on character building. Because although many details change between giraffes, having a strong sense of characterization will make the next steps at bit ESEA. 7. Brainstorming: Brainstorm any sings you can imagine your novel having. They do not have to be in chronological or storytelling order. Remember, this is for a first draft, so it won't be a complete list. Consider what your characters will go through, who they interact with. And saints that explore the coal tension and micro tensions within the story. This can be a difficult stage and it takes time to develop. So have some patience with yourself. Fraley, does everything fall into place for a novelist? As you write your novel and progress through this course, you may end up combining scenes or deleting some. That is absolutely okay and it happened to me. But for now, right to simple statement for H, same. If you need to write more than a simple statement, then that's okay. At this stage, you are truly using your imagination. I suggest starting a mind-map or continuing with the one you already have, or bringing about a journal with you. So you can jot down any ideas for things you get. If you are using notion. I highly recommend using the toggle feature to brainstorm scenes. This is a particularly good feature because you can put in notes and fireplace in every subsection. This office and easy way to move scenes around an ad board detail. This might be a stressful process, that dark worry. Every writer goes through this. And I have confidence that you can too. 8. How Many Scenes?: You may wonder how many S2 you need to brainstorm. And honestly, it depends. Saints can range from a sentence to well over 5000 words. But direct command listing at the very, very least, 12 to 15 scenes. Normally, I would recommend at least 20. But generally, the mole scenes you can come up with, the better. As I said earlier, you'll end up combining sings or deleting some. It's better to flesh out your novel concept as much as possible as you progress through the steps. You may add even more scenes. Usually, if a writer struggling to come up with sings, their premises underdeveloped and more work needs to be done. If that's you turn despair. But it may mean your characters or setting made more detail or your plot needs more strengthening. Take note of your favorite stories and how they structure scenes. Don't be afraid to use previous authors works for inspiration in plotting your first novel. After all, this is your first normal. It's not going to be a masterpiece on its first dropped. So please be kind to yourself and don't be afraid to look for inspiration. 9. Order: Now you have your list the sames. It's time to put them in storytelling order. What things do you imagine coming first? Experiment a bit with same placement and consider how well one same voice the next, in this exercise, you may come up with even more sings. That's a good sign. Your story certainly has substance. This is a great time to consider. Pacing. May be a slow scene, will come after a fast-paced same with lots of action. Make sure you have the right amount of scenes that develop eukaryote this forever and explore your main themes, concepts, and story. After all, the greatest stories in history, never have. Things remain static. Things change, they evolve. Have a look at your seamless and whether the characters are developed enough or undergo meaningful change. 10. Expand Scenes: In this stage, you will expand on each sentence statement. I want you to go back to your outline and flesh out the details right down who the main characters in that same, what happens and how it affects the story. Also include where the same takes place, how much time the same spans, and how it follows on from previous sames. If you do these exercises, you can avoid many storytelling problems riotous face. By focusing on small details. You ensure you all story is more vivid and therefore more rail. Expanding on each sentence statement is crucial to writing a good outline. I suggest you take your time with your task and don't rush it. Although it's okay to change same-day tails. I find that too many changes can cause procrastination and distracts you from your main goal, which is writing your novel. If you are stuck. I suggest looking at stories that inspire your own. How do other literary office structure there seems. What techniques does the author use to control the information and characters? Oft rule? Routing is done solely an oscillation. And you can really use your literary knowledge to help you. 11. Divide: To make the process of writing a novel ESEA. I suggest you divide your outline into various pots. For example, if you have 50 saints listed, you may turn that into 20 chapters. Or you might have pots. For example, Volume 1, 2, and 3. Make sure you experiment to bit. And remember the chapters or parts do not have to be completely. Even. Writing a novel may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to overwhelm you. This process will make it ESEA to mock milestones, where you can celebrate the progress and achievements you've made. When you get to the stage of writing your novel, you may not end up writing the same in chronological order. Pots old chapters. Make it easier to track your progress and give structure to your novel. Even if you don't end up using chapters or parts in the end, this process will give you a sense of flow and structure. 12. 12better: I highly recommend this step, but you may find that you do not need to do it. Look at your outline and notice the main Bates of your story. Is there a beginning, middle, and end? Or more specifically? Is there rising tension and a climax? Every story, especially novels, require key ingredients, if you like, and this is completely optional. Again, you can use resources such as Save the Cat speak, cheat, or the hero's journey. I may talk about them in more depth in a future course. Using these resources is entirely your choice. And don't feel you have to conform your story to a specific structure. I've linked some digital resources to the Skillshare course, which you can use. But make sure your story has at least a distinctive middle beginning, and end. I also suggest immersing yourself with storytelling and writing and by server time. So you strengthen your comprehension of creative writing. I know skillshare has terrific courses and writing, which I implore you to check out. Also, you can draw an electron writing community at your library. There are many options available to you, but it never hurts to run or to advance your understanding of what good writing and structure looks like. 13. Mood Board Focus: We are returning back to the class project, which is creating a mood board. Now that you've completed other tasks, will look at it again. Is there anything you'd add or maybe even remove? If you've run out of space on your mood board, you may want to consider making a Pinterest board or making a second moodboard. The option is yours. But take the way, return to your mood board and put it some way useful. Although novels are more than reading and writing then pictures, a visualization of the cool things, characters and ideas in new novel can be a great motivation to finish your first draft. It can make you enthusiastic about your writing project and give you a shop purpose. After you've done this stage, make sure you post. You may board in the class projects section below. 14. Research Tips: Depending on what genre Euro of writing in, you may need to do research for your novel. I highly suggest you do it before you commit to writing a first draft. Especially if your genre is historical fiction. For those who write fantasy or science fiction, chances are you'll have to well-built, really. Researching a well building new novel in depth will help you write your first draft. But try not to get overwhelmed by this. As many writers time re-search and well building into forms of procrastination. Eventually you have to stop researching for a moment and write. I also suggest using a program like Notion or ebonite to record notes and ideas, as well as rating lists and historical sources. Also, understand that your research needs can change between drafts. You may find after finishing your first draft that you need to do more research or well building. This is why you shouldn't be so tough on yourself. About research. It's nearly impossible to find all the information you need in the one go. Writing a novel is truly a marathon, not a sprint. If you enjoyed the mate board class project, I suggest making another one. As you research and well-built in progress. This is helpful fancy riders because when they need to write descriptions of clothing, food, locations, they have something to draw on. As Sarah Leah, visual stimuli can be a great asset for writers. 15. Time Management: All riotous, they to manage the time in an effective way. And the best method to do this is by creating a writing timeline. Realistically, consider how many words you can write per session and how many sessions you have per week. At this stage, take an honest look at your writing habits and come up with a date. But you can realistically finish a first draft. The time management effectiveness, I suggest adding milestones with certain dates. This can help you keep track. Now, there's a chance you will not meet a deadline. I know I didn't meet a lot of mine. While that's annoying. Pick another date in the future and keep writing. That's the most important part. You don't abandon your project. 16. Writing Your First Draft: Congratulations, you've finished outlining your novel. Now you are at the exciting stage of writing it. With your timeline, nights made board and beta sheets. You will well, on your way to writing a novel, you are proud of. Just a few gems of wisdom. Before I conclude, the schools, note that first drafts are far from perfect. After you finish writing your novel, you'll notice glaring flaws. And you know what, that's like. Rome wasn't built in a day. So this is just putting your novel aside for a few weeks or months before doing date provision. Also, if you get stuck while writing your novel, keep going. You may feel like quitting at times. I know IT it, but it's vital. You stay persistent. Also. Don't be afraid to make adjustments to your outline as you progress. But please do not get caught up on very minute details in your outline. It's easy to procrastinate and waste valuable writing time on small masses. But whatever happens, keep riding. 17. Conclusion: I hope this course has helped you to outline your novel. The journey ahead is hard and requires diligence and dedication. But it's possible to get there. I wish you the very best of luck in your literary journey. If you have any feedback about this course or any questions, please leave a review or comments. And I'm happy to get back to you. It's been a pleasure to teach this class. I know how much novel writing means to a lot of people, including myself. I can't wait to see your mood boards and what you have to offer to the world. See you soon and thank you very much again.