NaNoWriMo Prep: How I’m Writing My Novel’s Outline

I’ve always been a pantser – starting out with an idea, perhaps a few scenes in the back of my mind, and then just writing and seeing where the story takes me. While this works quite well for flash fiction, for longer pieces… not so much. Then came The Ruon Chronicles, with the story becoming bigger and bigger – and I realised that a lot of planning will be needed if I want to pull it off.

So I bought K.M. Weiland’s book on outlining (worth every cent, by the way) and started on the immense task I got myself into. In the end my outline is written in a few revisions as follows.nano2

The Skeleton Outline

This is the most basic outline with just enough info to get you from beginning to end. I didn’t bother with any detail, but only made notes like so-and-so-dies. (This seems to happen often in my stories.)


Because I follow different groups of characters I needed to be able to slot them together in such a way that chronology is kept to best as possible and that no one gets left alone too long.

I wrote out all the scenes on notecards (rather than in Scrivener at this moment) and played around with them.

Warning: Your cat will try and lie down on them, making this step rather tricky.

The Not-so skeleton Outline

After getting the scenes in order, I add more detail, perhaps adding POV as well. By this time I can also see which parts do not work so I can work on those.

The Final Outline

Break up in chapters and scenes; perhaps add bits of dialogue you want to include as well as finer detail.

Ta-da! (Hopefully)

By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.


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