Starting Your Book: Making Your Book Outline | Kayla Hicks | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Starting Your Book: Making Your Book Outline

teacher avatar Kayla Hicks, Author, Teacher, Mom

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

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

11 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Characters

    • 3. Project Character Bio Introduction

    • 4. Wrap up of Character Bio

    • 5. Parts of an Outline

    • 6. Characters appearing (Break Down)

    • 7. Setting (Break Down)

    • 8. Summary (Break Down)

    • 9. Project Book Outline

    • 10. Project Book Outline Wrap Up

    • 11. Goodbye

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Have you always wanted to write a book but weren't sure where to start? Have all the pieces but unsure how to put them together? This is where your book Outline comes into play.

What will you learn?

In this course we will walk through the fundamental elements of starting your book. You will first create one or more character bio's to set the tone for your book. After this is done we will move into creating an Outline of your book broken down by chapter. 

Why is creating character bio's and an Outline so important?

Just think of yourself when you read. Are there places you need to go back and reference in order to understand something currently happening? As we start writing a book there are so many pieces, people, places and details to remember. When you break down the book you can easily go back and use it as a reference later on. Creating character bio's is important for understanding them as a person. A character bio also allows you to give your characters a personality and track all their quirks. Your readers will relate to your characters on various levels you haven't even thought of if you plan out each person's personality and have a handy reference to it. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kayla Hicks

Author, Teacher, Mom


Hello, I'm Kayla. I am the author of the book Kale Stone: An Outliers Tale, Ventures and Visions: A Short Story Collection, Anywhere Else, and The BackUp Superhero Series. I am currently working on completing the series An Outliers Tale. When I first became an author, it was a long and messy journey to finally publish my first book. Along the way, I have learned so much from other authors and doing the process hands-on. Here on SkillShare, I am looking to share my experiences and knowledge on writing, finding an editor, the publishing process, and blogging. 


See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hi. Welcome to the course starting your book and making your book outline. My name's Kayla Hicks, and I'm a first time author of the book Kale. So not liars Till I had done it, I finally create a book. I was so proud of myself. I sat down, I started to edit and I realized two things. Number one. My characters were not relatable whatsoever. Number two. My chapters were all over the place, and I could not remember what went where or what had happened. Where did I go wrong? So I sat down and decided create two tools for myself. First, I decided create character bios. I sat down and it broke down each my characters into the following categories. Skills, likes and dislikes and just personally chiefs in general. This is it something that helped me to make them more of a person and make them more relatable to me and to my readers. Second, I decided to sit down and break down my chapters into a book outline. Each chapter was broken down by the chapter name who appeared in it. What? The setting was at every gem of the summary. This made editing so much easier. I was able to see what I was missing. I was able to see who had come in the charger, and I was able to understand what I still needed and what had already happened. Giving you these tools is going able you to be able to write your book or move on with your project. Throughout this course, you're gonna create one or more character bios. You're also to create a chapter outline for your book. It's going to have one or more chapters, depending on what you're comfortable with. I am so excited to see what you guys were to upload to the project section of this course on. I really encourage you to comment on other people's projects and receive some feedback from other peers as well. I will also look through the projects and see what feedback I can give you. And I'm so excited to see what characters you bring to life on what your books are gonna be about. Now let's jump into the next video of this course and talk about what characters are in general and the breakdown of how you create your character to be a relatable to your readers and to yourself. 2. Characters : hi and welcome to the next video characters. When I was thinking about characters and how to create them, I thought about why they're so important to your story in general. Someone thinking about why they're so important. You want to think about their relatability to your readers. When you think about the relatability that your readers have to these characters, do you want to think about them seeing your characters as their friends saying that someone that can really tune your skills, their hobbies, their habits, just someone that can relate Teoh on things that you're not going to know? But your readers will know. And then when you think about these things, you want to think if your character has a villain or someone that they really, really dislike is your over you're gonna view them is their enemy as well, and take your character side. Next, I think about why they're so crucial to your story. They are crucial because your story is centered around your characters, your kickers, the ones going through the motions that the ones that are dealing with other problems in your story and other ones making your story come alive. Salads think about characters and books that we already read. When you think about your favorite characters in the books that you have, think about some of the traits that you give, pinpoint and say That's what I want to my character that's thing that really makes that character special. So one of my favorite authors is John Green. He's a young little author who kind of mostly focuses on experiences that we go through in everyday life, mainly for young adults. But I still think he's a really good example about having characters that are relatable to the readers. So my three book by him is paper Towns. And in this book, Quentin is the main character who has his eye on Margot's Billman, who is the popular girl in school that he used to be best friends with. And then they solar group heart Um, Quentin is, ah kind guy who has a small, close group of friends, and one night Margo comes into his window and asked to recruit him to come and help him for the night to take revenge and everyone that has done her wrong. But mysteriously, the next day she is gone. She has disappeared so he makes it his mission to go out and try to find her and find clues and to figure out where she is gone. So I thought about Clinton has a character and just thought about all of his traits and what makes him so unique and so relatable to all the readers. So some of the things that I came up with were that he's loyal and he's kind, so he's kind of his friends around him. He's loyal. So Margot, he goes on this journey. He does everything in his power to try to find her. Everything kind of have everybody else in this story. Remember her when they've all kind of moved on, he's still determined, which is one of the next streets I talked about. Being determined kind of is what drives them throughout this book to just find himself and find Margo, and then come to the realization that maybe things are not the way that he viewed them. Originally, I haven't their self discovery, which is a big part of this book, which I think yes, is a kind of a unique character treat. But I think it's also really important because that also demonstrates that your character is lost or confused has come to a really big realization at the end of a story or throughout the story. When I think about another relatable character, I think about the story this Little by By Sara Giessen in the story. Ramming is a high school student who is in her last summer before she goes to college. During the summer, she works to the carrying business, and she's helping her mom playing her fifth way now. Because of this, it's kind of made her skeptical because she doesn't really believe that love exists after seeing all the relationships that her mom has had and has failed when she is also dealing with her father's death. Uh, he was a famous musician who got famous over the low by that he wrote for me during this on a robber. She does find someone that she didn't quite expect at her mother's fiancee's car dealership . She meets Dexter and silly falls in love with him over the summer. So I thought about Remmy as a character and how she was relatable to me. I thought about a few things about her treats. I thought about number one. How she's a little garden and a little skeptical some of the relationships that she had had to deal with over her life. I guess one being her father, not being around for very much of her life and having lost him made her realize that some relationships, some people, are going to leave. They're not gonna stick around for the long haul as well as seeing her mom's relationships , where marriages and romanticism don't always work out for people. Then I thought about how hard working she is when I think about how hard working she is. I see that she is on her way to college, and she's working over summer when most kids, when they're about to go to college, are not thinking about working over the summer. Those thinking about what can I do before I leave that I haven't done before? What joining to do for one last hurrah? And then I think about how protective she is. She's so protective of her mom just in how she is a person just making sure that her mom was protected and making sure of the people that shoots a running herself with are being kind to her mom. So now that you've seen some examples and scenes and things that I have talked about with other characters that I've read about used these and helping you make your own characters so staging for the next video we're going to see how it going. Create some of your characters for your character bio and see some the tools that are available to you. 3. Project Character Bio Introduction: Welcome to the first project. You're gonna be making your own character bio. So when you think about a character bio as we talked about before, you're gonna break down your character into saw segments that help you to relate to him as a person and how they're gonna fit into your story. So some of the things we're gonna put in your character bio are gonna be ate. The description likes and dislikes skills, personality treats, family, and they're annoying habits. So when you think about these things, this is what makes him a person. This is what some of the things that you think about when you think about your best friend or someone that you work with, what are some of the things that make your character that have fun with making them in unique person? Because your readers are going to relieve them on some sort of level. If you need another example. I've also uploaded one of my own character bios from my story. And if you have further questions, please feel free to post them to the projects for discussions area off the class. Me or one of your peers can help you along the way. I hope that you have so much on this project, and I'm very excited to see what characters you bring to life. 4. Wrap up of Character Bio: congratulations on making your first character. This is a big step in creating a great story and memorable characters that you're going to be taking throughout your book. I was so excited to read all the characters that you had created and brought to life so many unique and different traits. Racine. Now, when I think about my character, I thought about how much detail I went into each of the sections, their age didn't really matter and how much she tell you Put in there. It's just needs. When you thought about lights and dislikes, did they not like the way someone said a word? Did they like watching the sunset? Just little things like that. This thing that's going to make you understand your character a little bit more when I look to my personality for my character, Jeremy, I thought about some things that make him him. Was you someone that was a good person? Was he someone that along with other people, these are some of things you really want to go into detail with, because those little things that you're gonna put in and incorporate later in your book for your character, those the things that readers will remember about your characters like Iran. So now we're gonna want to creating your book outline. We have a lot to cover, so let's watch the next video. 5. Parts of an Outline: all right now you created a cure to bio. You have some great memorable characters that you're gonna play in your story line. Now we're gonna vines to meet a project making your book outline. So when you look at your book outline, it's gonna break down your book chapter by chapter. Some of the categories we're gonna put in each of your chapter outlines is going to be the title of the chapter, the summary of the chapter, the characters that are appearing and the settings that are gonna take place in the chapter . So, first, let's talk about the summary. When you look in a book online, we looked at a book in the store. You're looking for someone to give you a snapshot of what's going on the story That's the same thing you're gonna do in your book outlined. It's just going to use a little shorter. When you look at the summary of each of your chapters, you want to include things such as the events that are gonna happen, small t deals that you will remember later on. And, of course, whose Libya and what's gonna happen, what, you're gonna break down also in your book outline when you're doing your summary, give yourself enough detail that you're gonna remember Leader on include things like Little Side. It's we all her like Let's put in this person here and let's move This person here are this person is gonna appear leader, This is thing that's gonna help you editing wise Leader on because I know when I was editing, it was really hard to remember what happened or who I killed off or all that stuff. So now we're looking at the characters that are appearing. We're looking characters that are appearing. You wanna think about who's coming in to begin the chapter and specify that who's to be in the middle chapter and specify that if someone's leaving the book or the book specify that as well. This isn't me something that you use later on. Like I said before, you're gonna hear me like that all the time. It's a burger record. Now. When you think about the setting of your book or the chapter, you're going to think about what chapter the setting is going. T, please are the animal. Are they at the desert? Is the condition really hot? Is a condition really cold. This is something you want a detail. So that used all their know what's happening. If your character is going on a journey, they're gonna be in a ton of different places. I know a Bible Kill stone on at layers tail. I had Jeremy first. He was in the outskirts where he was in a house outside the city where there was no resource is That was something that was key to the first chapter. As he started to travel in the second chapter, he end up in the desert. That was something that heading, who majored Chelsea. What plant life was there, What animals were there? This is something you also want include. Those details are gonna be key and also helping the reader visualize where your characters are at and what's happening in each of the chapters. Now we're gonna talk about a little more about Characters are appearing in the next video, so stay tuned 6. Characters appearing (Break Down): all right. Now let's talk a little more about characters appearing. We talked about this a little bit in the previous video, but I wanted to give you a little more detail. So when you think about characters appearing, you want to think about your minor characters and your main characters. This is thing that's really important once again for the reader. They're gonna remember characters that you didn't think were as important as other characters, but they're going to remember them. You'd be surprised. I know. When I was running my story, I end up finding minimal characters were really banks. The plot that I didn't even realize later on, that people that read my book told me about they really entered that character or they really like till they tried the story together or they noticed them floating in and out of chapters. So when you're doing your character appearances, you want to think about everybody that they're gonna be interacting with everyone that's gonna be in that setting, Everyone that's enemy involved in that chapter in general. So my first chapter I had Jeremy was I mean, character start out Then he was talking to his mom then he had his neighbors down the street. Then he charged with Hemingway that was in the market. Then he You get that from here on, these are all people there to be included that your characters and your reader in general is gonna interact with. So when you think about your characters appearing, you want a list everyone that you can think of that you're gonna put in these details. This is awesome. A point where you can go back to list everyone that you can think of that you're gonna be putting in your chapter to begin with. And then once you're writing, you can always go back and edit this section of your book outline. If there's someone who you thought would work better and you put them in, put them in your book outline. This is gonna be something that helps you. You're on. Like I said, broken record. You're gonna be using this so many times you're gonna be going through this and just double checking your rechecking, especially when editing to see where you're at, who you included and who left the chapter. So now that we have a little more detail on character, appearances we're not gonna do go into a breakdown off the setting that you need to set for your readers. We're gonna talk about research that we need the details that you need to please inside and everything that you're gonna need to make your chapter come alive. All right, let's go on to the next video. 7. Setting (Break Down): all right, now we're well on our way. You learned about character appearances, and now we're gonna talk about the chapter setting. So think about one thing in particular. What book have you read? Where you felt like you were transported somewhere else. You had no idea what it was like. But the author was able to tell you things in such detail that you felt like you were there yourself and he felt like you knew it. That's the kind experience you want to give. Only your character is, but your years as well. So think about it. Have you ever been to the general? Maybe you have. But would you know every single detail about it? Probably not. So he is an author. I know I particularly struggled in this area, so I found that research research research was the best way to find out everything I need to know and give my readers to perspective that they felt like they were there themselves. So when I wrote my book, I had my characters go through multiple settings. So on them were the desert. What was the ocean? And the other one was the jungle. So some of these things. I knew a little bit about the non F detail. And so then I knew absolutely nothing about this is important to make sure that you write everything you research down so that you can remember it. Leader, Putting this information in your setting is gonna help you as an author and make sure you get all the details right. So say when you're doing your your research on, let's say the mall. If your character is gonna be at the mall, what kind of things are you looking forward to? Your readers like their transport into that setting, shopping prices, the snow of pretzels, the loudness of the play area. A kid crying because he can't get ice cream. What are things that are going to make you your character and your readers feel like they're Merson setting So some things you can do for yourself in the setting is marked down where they're at what the elements are familiar sounds the setting and some key visual points that you know your reader will visualize themselves as you the author visualizing as your rain down these words. Some of these things are gonna help us. The author visualized setting as well for your character. How does your character also interact with the setting? Are they climbing trees? Are they driving a car down a busy street? These are things that are also gonna make your chapter come alive. The setting is key to making your chapter jump off. The page is as well as your characters, because your characters are the ones that are in the setting. All right, well, I have some examples here for you. Of some settings I had in my story and some details that are here. That way they could help you, along with creating some of your settings. In the next video, we're gonna do a breakdown summary off the summary of each of the chapters. So please look for details and have any questions in the project. Your discussions portion of the class. All right. I'm excited to get into the break. German summary. Let's move one 8. Summary (Break Down): All right, let's keep moving along. So so far, we talked about your character appearances, the setting of the chapter. And now when you go into the summary of the challenger. So when I think about the summary, I think about including all the key points you're gonna need to know. In each chapter, you don't need to have ology Children to go. Nothing needs to be set in stone. It's all inevitable. But you want to think about things that are main points in your tractor that you're gonna need to remember. Sometimes it's also helpful. Trillions of minor details and side note. Just you remember some things that you need to use later on that you won't forget. So when you think about how the chapters and moving along, you want to think about the beginning of the chapter. So obviously, the being in the summary how does it start off? Is a mysterious part of the chapter? Are you finishing off an event that happened previously from another chapter? What's happening in the middle of the chapter is often times where it could be slow or you need a turning point. What's happening in the middle and lastly at the end. Are you leaving often A cliffhanger. Are you contained an event? Is something happening? That's a big schooler for the next chapter. These are all key points I think of and things that you need to sit down and work out as the author. And something that I found helpful is an author was just rain down some future footnotes. So I know that, like me, many of you are not. People Sit down and write one book an entire day or better yet, days in a row. You have times where you have the best ratings data mined or you have a creative flow that you're not able to stop and think, OK, am I gonna remember this later If I have to stop and start again? So for those of us who can't sit down and write straight through, just having some future notes for the next chapter or significant event that's coming up is really gonna be helpful for when you have to stop and start again, sell for up everyone that's working on their summary. Just remember that it could be a little more as long as you need to be. Remember that any significant events they're gonna happen. That's good to include small or minor details. Visit before and just remember to have fun with it. Your chapter is your own unique me. Get flow with your story. And even if it doesn't float first, editing is always the next step. After your first draft, your first draft is not final. All right, so right now we're going to want to talk about the project about your book outline. Let's once the next video. 9. Project Book Outline: let's put those new skills to the test. We've talked about the book outline project and broke it down into many different sections . We learned about how character appearances, minor or major, are very important. Remember who comes in and out of the ejector? We also talked about the setting and surroundings of each of your chapters, making sure your fact checking and researching to make sure everything's believable and all the details. A rate for your characters and your readers is very important. Next, we talked about the summary of the chapter. This is making sure that she rate done events, major and minor details to help you to see all the Remember what's happening during the chapter. It's also helpful sometimes to make a future footnote. This is something that if you're stopping and starting writing during a time to make sure, you know we're gonna start off on the next chapter where you're headed. In case you have those breakthrough moments where you need to write down now. Now do what you feel comfortable with. You could do one or more chapters for your outline. For the project, please feel free to post any questions, discussion or the project section off this class mean your peers will do our best to give you some constructive advice and answer questions. That's impossible happened with the project. I know this is gonna be a great tool to help you start your book. I make it as fast as it could be. I'm still excited to see what you guys have and what's in store for us. All right. Well, good luck on your project. I can't wait to see what you have. 10. Project Book Outline Wrap Up: Congrats, relations. You've created the bones and the structure for your new book, using all the tools that you've learned you being characters appear and made the memorable and unforgettable. You've also made settings and surroundings for your chapter and have those key details and research to help you write the rest of your chapter. You've also created summary that's gonna enable you to remember the key points at events and even future details of your chapter. All right, let's go shut the courts be of or video and then that's a wrap. 11. Goodbye: Congratulations. You finally finished the course. Throughout this course, you've gained valuable tools and information to help you make a better book as an author. Now, some of the things that we went over in this course was Number one character bios. This is a tool that helps you to create memorable and unforgettable characters in your book . This is thing is gonna help your story jump off the page and let your readers connect with what you're writing about. Next. You mean a book outline with one or more chapters that helped you to breakers chapters down into multiple parts. One was the kit characters that we're going to appear in your chapter, major or minor your settings and surroundings, which were detailed and researched to help it make more believable for your characters in yourself and your readers. You also work down each of your chapters into a summary which let you dizzy author. No events details on future notes. If you have to stop or start writing again. No, If you have to take away three things from this course, I like you take away these three things. Number one. Make sure you're making characters that are relatable and Maribel to your readers and yourself. By doing so, your book is only going better for it when your characters can relate to it. It makes the book even better. Think about when you're reading a book. What treats can you take away from the characters that you can lead to yourself? What makes you root for the character? What makes you hate a character? These are things to think about when you're making your characters that are gonna help your book be the best that could be to your setting of surroundings are so important research and fact. Check them and make sure they're detail enough so that it can transport your characters. Andrew readers. So wherever you're taking them, you wanna immerse them in surroundings that you have your characters in to make them feel like they're part of the book. I really enjoy the experience that you're giving them. You're taking the long adventure, so take him on an adventure and three just have fun with it. If I had any piece of advice to give anybody, it's that if you're writing something right, what you love, you're gonna have readers. They're not gonna like what you have and there are no like what you have. But ultimately, it's up to you to like what you're writing. If you don't like your what your rating, it's gonna be evident it's gonna show. So have fun with it, makes it unique and write what you love. All right, Well, thank you so much for taking the course. I look for war courses. I mean, alright. Congratulations again. Thank you.