Outlining is one of the hardest things for a writer to do besides getting published. Although outlining is option I highly recommend it because it allows you to see where your novel is going, you can procrastinate, and it also allows you to practice writing. How ever there are some down sides to outlining. Outlining takes up time, can become confusing, and trying to write short descriptions of each chapter can be hard (because you want to actually write that chapter instead of outline it). You should try to outline at LEAST one novel in your writing career and/or hobby. Now onto the actual process of the outline.
As many people say 'Writing can not be taught', that is very true for outlining too. Outlining can not be taught! This entry is to be used as a guide, not a rule book. There are many ways to outline. You can use note cards, the snowflake method, roman numeral method, and many other methods. I prefer to use the note-card method, but I will also describe the other methods as well in this entry(or in a different entry).
The note-card method
Note cards (duh!)
First things first is think about what your novel is going to be about. You can't begin outlining if you don't have a good idea of what you novel will be about!
Fish out some note-cards. Label them 'Chapter 1' 'Chapter 2' 'Chapter 3' etc. Then label one of them 'Plot' and 'Back cover'.
Pick out the 'plot' note-card and write the basic plot down. So here is mine: 'Girl gets mixed up in her mom's spying activities, which leads to her meeting her father who she's never met.' Okay, done with the 'plot' card, now don't touch it. Now pick up the 'Chapter 1' card, and write what you would like to happen in chapter one. Then do that for all of the chapters.
Okay, did you get that done? Now pick up the 'Back Cover' card, and write what you think would go on the back cover of your book. Be creative!! :)
I admit, I don't know much about the snowflake method so
here is the link to the website: http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php
Roman Numeral Method
This is probably the most straight forward way to outline, and I like this way of outlining a lot. The easiest way to do this is to go onto Microsoft Works/Word, and open a new document. If you're lazy like me then here is the website: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/results.aspx?qu=outline#ai:TC030004042|
There's the template, once you download it you can fix it to your liking. For those of you who don't or can't download it then, just try and do that by manually typing it in like this:
A. Girl comes home from school.
B. She finds paper stuffed in her backpack
C. It's a stalker note.
And do that for every chapter, and then you have your outline!
Spiral Note-card Colored Outline
Oxford Assorted Rainbow Spiral 50 Ruled index cards 4" x 6"
Okay, so there are five sections. . .you did get the right ones, right? Each section or color stands for one topic. So yellow will be for characters, purple: chapter outlines, green: ideas, pink: prompts, blue: research. You can edit these to suit your needs. I got the idea from here: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AhQay_B5LSY76I8m5Y5JMrojzKIX;_ylv=3?qid=20101204141235AAwIdwu
So now you just have to develop the character and chapter outlines, which is pretty easy. For the chapter outlines you just write down brief descriptions of each chapter and what happens in that chapter.
Okay, well there ya go! Hope you really liked it. The Spiral Note-card colored outline is my original idea, and you may say that you have used it but do not claim the idea as your own!! Thanks!