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How To Outline A Book

Writing a novel is no easy task. It’s one thing to come up with the concept and characters, but to then write it out in an organized way that makes sense is a lot more difficult than you might think. 

How To Outline A Book

It can feel really overwhelming just knowing where to start when it comes to writing a book.

But this is why outlining your book is so important. Having that template means that you can just focus on writing, without having to worry about contradicting yourself or the story. 

If you want to learn how to outline your book properly, then you have come to the right place.

We will be going over everything you need to know about how to outline a book, so you can focus on writing it without getting overwhelmed! 

How To Outline A Book

Outlining a book makes the whole process much easier, and it eliminates complications, which means you can write faster and better!

There are lots of things to consider when it comes to outlining a book, regardless of what genre it is. 

But it’s a lot more straightforward to outline a book once you really sit down and plan it out.

Below, you will find out everything you need to know about outlining your book, so read on to find out everything you need to know.

Always Map Out The Key Scenes 

One of the best things to start with is the key scenes. Mapping them out can give you a skeleton to build upon, and it makes organizing the whole book a lot easier. 

Key scenes can be anything like plot twists, turning points in the story, and even locations. You don’t need to worry about the order of these key scenes yet, you just want to get them written down. 

Key scenes are always going to be the most important parts of the story. They will be events and scenes that progress the overall plot. 

Once you have mapped your key scenes out, you then want to add some details about what will happen in these scenes. There aren’t any strict rules as to how much detail you add, but if you want to keep it simple, just a few key details will suffice. 

Look For Anything That Is Out Of Place

Once you have your key scenes mapped and you have added the details, it will make it much clearer to see if anything is out of place.

You will be able to bridge the gap between scenes a lot easier and see if any of these scenes actually hinder the plot and flow. 

It could just be something as simple as you need to reorder some of your scenes or even just the transitions between scenes.

Maybe you need to rework how to introduce a specific character, or maybe one of the key scenes needs a bit of a rewrite. 

Don’t be afraid to spend a lot of time on this part. You want your book to flow and make sense, and getting most of this step right will benefit you greatly when it comes to actually writing. 

Ask For Feedback

Sometimes, the best thing for your outline is a pair of fresh eyes. It’s too easy for your mind to get foggy with your own ideas, especially when you are pouring a lot of time and effort into them. 

Asking for feedback from a trusted friend or family member will help you see the whole concept from a fresh perspective.

The feedback you get might also help you find something you might have been missing. Someone could point out something that doesn’t make sense, that you hadn’t considered before. 

You know your story better than anyone else, but you need anyone else who reads it to understand it and like it. Be open to suggestions and constructive criticism, because it could just save your whole book! 

Start Your First Rough Draft

How To Outline A Book (1)

Once you have finished your outline, got the feedback, and are confident enough, it is time to start your first rough draft. Remember, this draft is not meant to be perfect, it’s just meant to get your story on paper. 

Your outline should go hand in hand with your draft and make it much easier to write. As you are writing, you don’t need to remember when key scenes or character introductions are coming up.

It will all be in your outline, so you can just refer back to it when you need to. 

The outline will make sure that you keep your draft detailed and organized and the story will make more sense. As it is your first draft though, mistakes are fine!

Once you have finished your first draft, you can reread it and see what needs changing and removing. 

Tips For Outlining Your Book

Write Your Outline Digitally

Lots of people prefer to write by hand, but when it comes to an outline, it’s a lot easier and less stressful to write it out digitally.

It allows you to make mind maps, and cut and paste whatever you need instead of having to waste time completely rewriting it. 

You can use whatever writing software you want to write up and edit your draft, so don’t be afraid to get creative! You can make it as visual as you want too and change the colors, fonts, and anything else to make it easier to organize. 

Add Images To Your Outline

If you do write your outline digitally, add some imagery! These images won’t make it into your novel, but they will help you immerse yourself in the setting and provide you with inspiration when you have a bit of a creative block. 


Writing an outline for a book can feel overwhelming at first, but that doesn’t mean that it is impossible! The important thing to remember is that you can spend as much time as you need to perfect the outline.

Use the tips we have provided here to write your own outline today!

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