Writing Your First Novel, Part 2: The Alphabet Outline | Ted Uram | Skillshare

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Writing Your First Novel, Part 2: The Alphabet Outline

teacher avatar Ted Uram, Writing & Fantasy Cartography

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

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

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About This Class

This class teaches a simple novel outlining method I call the Alphabet Outline, which is available here as a download. This method fully enables you to produce an entire novel containing 24 chapters, in four distinct acts.

Videos provide step-by-step guidance for what information should be in each chapter as you follow along in your own downloaded version of the Alphabet Outline. 

This class continues the theme of "how to write your first novel", building upon your writing skills. New writers, seasoned authors, even those who have never dreamed of writing a book or novel before, will benefit from this class series. 

Be sure to follow me so that you can be notified of all my other writing classes, writing tips, and the ever-expanding "how to" writing series.  

My goal is to make you a better writer. My dream is to pass down my writing knowledge to the next generation of writers. 

Thank you! 

Ted Fauster 


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Ted Uram

Writing & Fantasy Cartography


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1. INTRO: When I wrote my first fantasy trilogy, it was really just kind of flying by the seat of my pants. It was it was really well received, but it was just kind of one big book broken. It worked, of course, because it functions just like like reading a Dungeons and Dragons adventure. I realized if I was gonna be serious about being a writer, that it was gonna have to move with something that had more structure. I needed something that was gonna enabled me to kind of plot out my writing without bogging down helps you remember everything that is supposed to go into a good job, step by step chapter. Actually. Take the alphabet. Break it into a X, which equates to 24 chapters and four act. It sounds like it's a lot of structure, but it's really not. It's just gives you the bare bones. What you built, you don't have to worry about. Start I'm faster and this is writing your first novel, Part two 2. VIDEO 1 - THE OPENER: most new writers assumed the book should open with some amount of detailed description. A good opener should serve as a kind of advertisement toe. What the book contains that makes sense, right. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your book opener is a firecracker. It is packed with fuel that ignites and explodes the moment anyone starts reading it. Let's break it down. Your opener is composed of three major components. Thes are the first sentence. The middle on the last sentence. First sentence sets the tone. By this, I mean it is crammed with a prime example of the language readers expect from your genre. It provides the point of view in which the book is written, and it has to be clever. Three. Opening sentence should be powerful and straight to the point, come up with something that lights the fuse for the rest of the paragraph. Be prepared to follow it up with 3 to 4 sentences that add to the opener. However you choose to write them. Don't lose momentum Way end with one last sentence that is the first hook in the book. It explodes in the reader's mind, but it must also shock, move upset and assault intrigue or somehow otherwise compelled the reader to keep reading 3. VIDEO 2 - WRITING AC T I: from here on in, it's up to you to maintain the pace that your opening paragraph promised. Your first chapter must start in a logical point. Introduce a compelling protagonist, set the appropriate tone and pace, provide an authentic sense of environment. Be true to your genre. If genre is important, introduced, both the internal and external conflict on it must end with well crafted hook. The first major hook you've already written. This is the last sentence of the opening paragraph. This served as click bait to draw the reader into the rest of the chapter. As long as you did a good job keeping the pace. Odds are your reader will follow the trail all the way. The last paragraph, the second major hook occurs right at the end of your first chapter. Chapter one achieves a lot after your opener. Your job is to keep that momentum going. Don't just pad the chapter with all kinds of background information. So where do you put all that stuff? Well, the truth is, you don't you don't put it anywhere. Your characters reveal this information. They do this through the conversations they have by showing us how they treat each other through the inner monologue that occurs by revealing their hopes and fears in the actions they take. Even the clothes they wear, even the food they eat, the list goes on and on. Slowly lift the curtain on the world, making short of include all the things mentioned previously and the chapter with a hook that does not give away the event but does somehow subtly hint that things are not quite right. Chapters two and three are unknowingly tumbling toward the event. They reveal more detail about the world. Even so, things air still in their ordinary state use these two chapters to reveal your protagonist laws right in logical scenes that linked to one another using but or therefore instead of and then your protagonist still feels safe. As a matter of fact, Chapter three is where your character feels the safest, regardless of the scenario there, and they still believe they're in charge of things, carrying a feeling that nothing could go wrong. And then it does. Following the introduction of the event, your protagonist is in a state of confusion. They know what has to be done, but they're contemplating other options. They're put through a series of emotions that culminates with them being based with clear evidence that the repercussions of the event can no longer be it. 4. VIDEO 3 - WRITING ACT II: This is the point where the book transitions into act to this is the first of three major turns in the story. Act two is filled with what we call rising action. Our protagonist feels good about things. By the end of Chapter seven, however, they encounter their first complication, and Chapter eight, Our Hero confronts the complication head on. At this point, the story the reader sees minor setbacks followed by big successes. By the end of Chapter nine, the reader is coddled into believing nothing bad can happen. Chapter 10 our protagonist is filled with confidence by all their steady progress. This is where they hatched a bold new plan. Chapter 11 is where a protagonist executes the bold plan. At first, things go rough. For a moment, it seems like the plan won't work, but our heroes sticks with it. By the end of the chapter, they emerged victorious. This chapter ends by presenting a new, even more dangerous obstacle. In the final chapter of Act two, the protagonist rises up to the challenge to defeat the more dangerous obstacle. Victory should not come easily, but in the end, our hero once again emerges victorious to the reader. This almost feels like the end of the book. Do they know? However, this is only the false climax of the overall story, Okay? 5. VIDEO 4 - WRITING ACT III: the transition from act to Toe Act three results in the second major turn in the story, a more challenging threat emerges. This is called The Severe Turn. Having never failed, our protagonist faces this new threat head on and Chapter 14. Our protagonists uses the same tactics that have been getting them through the entire book so far on Lee. This time things don't go quite as planned. Our hero pushes board, and for a while it is unclear what will happen. Chapter 14 ends on a cliffhanger, and Chapter 15 cliffhanger resumes. Things begin to go badly. This new threat seems impossible to overcome. At this point. Our protagonists is getting sloppy, truly shocked that things were going so poorly they begin taking unnecessary risks. Our reader is beginning to feel uncomfortable. They don't necessarily agree with the tactics our protagonist is taking. Nevertheless, the action experiences a temporary surge, which actually benefits our protagonist. The reader wonders why they ever doubted our hero, but this is only false hope. The surgeon action on Lee brings recklessness. Our hero does his very best, but it doesn't take long for things to devolve into chaos. Eventually everything comes crashing down and a bitter defeat. This is actually a good place for someone to die. You can't kill off your protagonist. Of course, that would be too much been easy out for them. You know, your protagonist mints now suffer the consequences of their actions. The second half of Act three is filled with misery. This begins in Chapter 16 where our protagonist feels guilty and broken. They may have even become an outcast or been driven into exile. Against the advice of remaining friends, the protagonist resorts to desperate measures in a feeble attempt to force events in their favor. As you can imagine, this ends horribly and Chapter 17 our protagonists becomes frantic and erratic. They make mistakes, they lash out. They break off relationships and alienate family and friends. What we're witnessing is the unraveling of hope were really beating up our protagonist at this point, and they deserve it. This is the trial by fire that every protagonist must go through in order to change. By Chapter 18 our protagonist descends into a downward spiral. The reader is forced to witness the repercussions of all of their dangerous and unwarranted behavior. But the end of this chapter, it truly does appear like all hope is lost. This is the lowest point in the story 6. VIDEO 5 - WRITING ACT IV: Chapter 19 marks the final turn in the plot. This is where a powerful sense of disillusionment sets in. The protagonists now sees the world as it truly is. This sensation carries over into the middle of Chapter 19 but from thes broken feelings springs hope our hero is broken but remorseful. They see things more clearly now. They lick their wounds and begged the assistance of what few friends they have remaining. With the help of allies, Ah, much born realistic plan is formulated, and Chapter 20 our protagonist is showing the first signs True growth. They've learned from this whole experience, and they now realised that in order to succeed, they must find the courage to continue. They must also change their behavior before it's too late. All of this usually requires the help of others. They can't do this alone. So much more is at stake. And if they screw it all up now, there's no way they will succeed. This is that one last shot. At this point in the book, the reader is proud of the protagonist development. Even so, it's becoming very clear that success is unsure and Chapter 21 the book reaches its zenith , the highest point in the action. Our hero and their allies, Russian with confidence. This is a do or die situation. The reader is moved to cheer them on, all the while biting their nails. They sit on the edge of their seats as they read the final confrontation. This is the true climax of your entire novel. Whether your protagonist succeeds or fails is up to you. I guess we'll just have to read your book to find out. Chapter 22 moves us into the change, which is also the last half of act, for This is where the action dims were still coming up, the high of having finally resolved the event and basking in the afterglow of our hero, achieving their true desire. All of the flaws introduced in the first chapter and then echoed throughout the book, have been corrected. However, some lingering issues still remain in Chapter 23. All of the loose ends are tied up neatly in a bow. The protagonists and their companions finally get closure. In Chapter 24 we present the New World in which our protagonist now resides, some cheerful reminiscing occurs. Things finally wrap up In the case of a Siri's, don't forget to drop some clues that hint to the possibility of the story continuing. Congratulations. Your book is finally done. Thank you for coming along on this journey. You now have all the tools you need to finish your first book. 7. FINAL THOUGHTS & CLASS PROJECT: Well, I certainly hope you enjoyed this class. I know. I had a lot of fun putting this all together. I truly hope you found this class useful and that you can now write your first novel with confidence. Please don't forget to follow me on skill shares so you could be notified of all the new classes I have coming up. And if you'd be so kind, please leave a review. It certainly appreciate it for your class project. I'd like you to make a MIM that showcases the big question from you novel. If you remember from the videos, the big question is always applied to your protagonist. And it is always asked in response to the event, please post your MIM in your project section of the class. I encourage you to share your projects here on skill share. It's a great way to get feedback and to discover new friends who can help you grow as a writer. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your running journey. I'll see you in my next class.