Write the Next Best-Seller By Outlining Your Novel in Only Three Steps | Elizabeth Dean | Skillshare

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Write the Next Best-Seller By Outlining Your Novel in Only Three Steps

teacher avatar Elizabeth Dean, Poetry and Writing Instructor

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

4 Lessons (17m)
    • 1. Outline Introduction

    • 2. Outline Premise

    • 3. Outline Synopsis

    • 4. Outline Scenes

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About This Class

Don't know where to go in your novel? Write an outline to guide you through the process! This informative series will cover everything you need to write the next great novel! Outlines provide you with the opportunity to create a richer novel.

This course will show you how in only three steps!

Meet Your Teacher

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Elizabeth Dean

Poetry and Writing Instructor


Hello, I'm Elizabeth. I'm a poetry enthusiast and a teacher. I have taught for 4 years. I love to meet new people and new ideas!

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1. Outline Introduction: hello and welcome to how to outline your novel. This is the introduction, which is kind of cheating. I know, but we need to talk about how toe outline your outline to decide which outline you want to dio. Now I actually recommend doing several of them, but the one we're going to cover in this course is the hardest of them all. But you get the most reward of them all. However, there are several ways to do this. The one we're gonna use is where we go to the premise. We go to the setting, we go scene by scene. It really. It's easy to do when you know the steps, but it does take a lot of time. However, there are much simpler ways. The first way to do this is through a picture book. Now, this is actually exactly what it sounds like. It's where you take a book and you feel it with pictures of what you think your characters will look like and where your characters lived and where he characters go to eat wherever you want. And some people do it scene by seeing they like, we'll go and find a picture of an Italian restaurant. And if that's where that people eat, well, how they're seen marked that that way they have it kind of specially laid out. And this is very helpful, especially for visual learners. The second way of the mind map. And this is exactly what it sounds like. This is what you're gonna kindergarten. That's actually really helpful tool for writing or especially getting all your ideas out there. So let's say you're writing a story about, um, surfers in Malibu so that your first circle in the center might be Malibu. Then you might do a little arrow and say surfer, And then you might due to errors from that, one of them saying, Ah, one of them one of the family members have their arm bitten off by a shark, and they also own a surf shop. Something like that. And just expanding, expanding, expanding until you have all your plot points laid out. Though it won't be chronological, it might not be that helpful to look back upon. It will help you get those juices flowing. Last methods of Mac. So what you do here as you do a map of your world, so this is a picture of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth from Lord of the Rings, and he laid out a map as anyone who's read the book conceded the beginning of where everything happens. So this is just helpful for referencing where everything patents. There's also something called reverse outlining. This is what you do when you already written your novel, but you still want to go back and make sure everything's concrete there. No plot holes. This is actually a very handy tool to use. And I recommend if you already have your novel, um, then you go ahead and look at the rest of videos in this course just because, of course I'd say that. But honestly, it will help you lay out. Make sure there aren't any potholes. Okay, the real question. Pen and paper versus software. So here's what I would do. Start with pen and paper. Do your mind map of pen paper. It's better for flow, but worse for editing. Software is easy to end it, but not very good for flow. If you hate software that you can course, just use pen and paper or vice versa. But that's just my recommendation, and I think we're ready to get to the rial nitty gritty of it. See you soon 2. Outline Premise : All right. Welcome to the nitty gritty outline your novel Step one premised promised premise. Get my laser born around. A premise is a single sentence that will change constantly until everything is complete. No, you might be saying Oh, I already have my story line. I'm sure it's not gonna change. I promise you it will change. Everything changes. Um, probably the best, or at least the most loved science, not science fantasy book of all times. Well, you probably be either Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. One of the two. I'm just gonna say, Lord of the Rings, because it's older And J. R. R. Tolkien was a classic revisionist. He would have revised and revised and revised and revised. And finally his friend told, I'm just publish it already. You don't need to revise anymore, So it's nice to have that voice of reason. But you also need to know that you are going to revise and no story comes out completely perfect the first time. If it does, you're amazing. And you're probably the first human being ever to have that happen and congrats. But for the rest of us, things are gonna change Now, why are we doing this? You want to make sure your story has a flowing narrative? So have you ever read a book and you started? And it has one point and then you get in the middle and go somewhere else. In the end Has nothing to do with the beginning. And you were just like, Why did I read this? That had no point. Well, unless you're point is having no point. I'm sure there's some book out there that does that. You want to have a flowing narrative and to make sure you're in every scene, every dialogue compels the story forward. You want tohave that premise to go back to you and say, Oh, well, this scene doesn't fit in with my premise. It doesn't propel a plot forward. You could have a more effective sales pitch these air looking for people who want to publish. That works, uh, with agents. Which do you think that sound better if you have 50 sentences explaining of the same thing as one sentence, Would you rather listen to someone talk for 50 sentences about something that could have explained in once in its or would you rather start with one sentence and then explained further from there. I promise you, these agents who have heard hundreds of stories a day will want it to be a little bit brief so they know what they're getting into and they can tell you right away. Oh, that's it. Awesome idea. And you can also see which elements convey the best plot. So this goes with having a flowing narrative. You can not only see what doesn't compel story forward. You could also see what kind it does. But it doesn't really fit with a story like it could be a spy story. And you have a scene of an old West town for some reason, and you're like, uh, this doesn't really fit. I'm taking it out. What's your unique? This is where you begin to write your premise. What makes your story special like a culture center around the past, a fallen soldier comes back for revenge. Every book ever written was planned by an alien species. I don't know what your unique is, but I'm sure you have one. Everybody does. So what I want you to do is pause the video and for five minutes, set a timer on your phone, right? Like the dickens, right? Everything that first pops into your head of your unique I'm gonna wait a second freed pause and then play it and we'll talk about it in a minute. Choose a few favorites. Yes. Now I'm asking you to combine some of them. Don't be afraid to mix and match. This could be like an outfit. You can mix and match and see what out that you can come up with. It doesn't have to be just one or the other, if you like. Oh, I like that beginning. But this would be a cool ending. Oh, this would be a great plot twist. The more unique you have, the better. Now you don't want something so outlandish that you've created an alien language that no one will be able to understand by reading your book. But you do wanna have enough to intrigue the audience. This is your story. Make it unique. Make it your unique What's next? Character plot? Conflict resolution. Okay, It probably sounds like I'm just throwing that at you. Like what the heck? We just did a little premise thing. Why are we now jumping to doing everything else. Well, this part I'm gonna make somebody was on in the past. But for the sake of this video, I'm just going Teoh breeze over them. You want to fully develop your characters, your plot, your conflict, any resolution before you do the rest of your outline. Now, this might seem crazy, but it really will help you in the future. And I will see you next time. And remember, get to the point. Sorry. I always include puns. 3. Outline Synopsis: hello and welcome to outline your novel number two synopsis. Okay, so this is very similar to premise, except for well promises. One sentence and it's a lot more cut down Synopsis is going to be a paragraph to a page, and it's going to be a lot more thorough. It's still not the scene for scene that's going to come next, but it is going to be pretty thorough. So it's a general survey of your novel. You want to include all the significant pop plot points. There are three methods for doing it, and it depends on how well you know your book. So if you already know what's gonna happen, then just make a list like a checklist. The character does this. Then they do this and they do this and they do this and they do this and then take that list, review it. Make sure you like everything that's happening and then make that your synopsis for your novel. Method Number two is the what Then why? This is actually my favorite method when I come up with the story. So what you do is you, I say, let's use Goldilocks and Three Bears is an example. What happens while she walks in the woods? Why she's looking for food. What happens? She walks into a house. Why? Because she wants to find food. What happens? Well, she sleeps in the bed. Why? Because she's tired. It's very basic, but you can go from what to what? To what to what? And that's course, not the full story of Goldilocks and three Bears, but I don't want to bore you to tears. So that's what the why los method is when you really don't know motivation yet, and you really don't know what's gonna happen. So you do. What's next? This is where you take the novel or take your idea and you say What's next? What happens next? You want to take that character and think of what they do next, or what happens in the world. Whatever next, just go scene by scene by scene, not even see my scene. If you don't want to, you can just go overall. Well, this happens and then somehow they do this and that somehow they do that and then ends up like this and then you want to go back to the to the what then why method? And then you want to go to the list method, so it really depends where you start. So if you start with the method to what then why you're gonna jump after you finish that list? And after that, you're going to compile it into a synopsis. Now, synopsis are usually what you find on the back of a novel. If you need some inspiration. So that's that. And we're going to cover scenes next. Thank you for watching. And I'll see you next time. 4. Outline Scenes: hello and welcome to outline your novel scenes. So this is our final step. So exciting. Make sure your plot is pretty concrete before trying to write scenes. Now there is a reason we had two videos before this. You really need to do those two first. You don't wanna have a scene and then realize it doesn't fit and have to go to all that work to rewrite it. However, I'm gonna contradict myself immediately. If you find something that doesn't work, you can always change it. You can always go back and change your story. It's just a lot more work. And we, as a human race don't like a lot of work. We take the easiest route possible. So make it easy on yourself and try to get it pretty concrete before you began with scenes list. What happens? So you're gonna get want to go back to your list to your synopsis, and then you might want to break it down to a list again and try to figure out the details . So let's say Goldie Locks were going back to go. Goldie locks gold about Goldie Box. Goldie Locks sleeps in the bear's bed so what happened to her? Does she put on the Bears PJ's first, or does she sleep above the covers with their clothes on? Or does she get the bed all dirty and let go under the covers with her dirty clothes on? Keeps her shoes on as well. What is the details? The devil's in the details, and you just wanna have out what's gonna happen. Make sure every scene has tension. So I'm have two recommendations for every scene. Just to make sure you're going the right course course, there's plenty of other recommendations. The every scene needs to have tension unless it's at the very beginning now. The reason I say that is if you have a story that you want to be all happy at the beginning and then something terrible happens, you can do that, but you don't want to have in the middle a scene where everything's happy and over, or unless it's a fake out. But you usually do not wanna have a scene without tension. If it's just like a conversation, even the conversations need to have tension, and there are a lot of types of tension. I'm probably gonna do a lecture just on tension. But I'm gonna go over the famous three managers is God. So this would be man versus fate as well. So, like, the story of edifice would be a man versus God story edifice wanted to escape his fate and he ends up not and man versus nature. So if you're doing a story about a hurricane or tornado or something like that, that be a man versus nature story and man versus man would be, of course, the classic superhero villain story or anything like that. Now it used to be that stories usually only had one of these. Nowadays, most people include all three or even four or five. There are a lot of different types, but this is just to get you started to make sure your story has tension, make sure to fully develop your world. Now what do I mean by this? You want to have every location and if it's a big, expansive novel where you have a whole map map that map out, don't have them go across the street, Teoh the restaurant and then go across the street again instead of their house, the hotel, and make it all confusing where the locations don't match up and you want to detail this. Okay, so I have two pitchers of a forest here. Why do I have that? Well, these forced look kind of similar the breath forests, but they're very different. Look here. There's all sorts of overgrown plants all over the base of this forest and sell bumpy and it's fall and the trees are kind of leaning over. In this forest. They're all about the same age trees, their skin and their straight and the ground is flat, so even though they're the same thing, they could be very different. You want to decide what yours looks like. Then here's some other locations that you might have, and people often think that location is just for fantasy or sci fi writers. That is not the case. If you write historical fiction, you need location. If you write a biography, you need location. You need to map out these locations. That's why people who write biographies often travel to where the person lives so they can fully grasp what the place looked like. Thank you for watching this course and remember to tell me what you think and how I can prove Thank you again and happy riding