How I Outline My Novels - Free Template

Originally posted on my blog on January 14, 2013

Whenever I tell someone I write books, the most common question I get after establishing genre/release date, etc is:

How do you write?

I don't even know what the frick this question means, but I suspect people want to know if it's hard (yesssssss), and whether or not I plan/outline (heck.yes.).

Lately I've been reading a bunch of author interviews with writers that don't outline, and it seriously knocks my mismatched socks off, because I'm one of those super-psycho planners that has about a billion forms/templates/notebooks before I write a single word. 

I thought I'd share my FAVORITE of all my planning tools. Now, this template not for the faint of heart, and it's definitely not for "pansters." See I don't just jot down my key scenes, I put them into a spreadsheet. ****NERD ALERT!***

I often customize the spreadsheet for each book, adding columns for subplots and romantic turning points when necessary. It's also especially useful when working on series because you can keep track of the "seeds" you've planted for future books in the series. 

You'll also find a column for the protagonist's Outer and Inner Journey. Ensuring that each scene in my manuscript has a purpose for plot development (outer journey) and characterization (inner journey) has really changed the way I write and ensures each scene accomplishes something new and moves the story forward.

For those of you who like to know the direction of your next scene (or all of your next scenes) feel free to take a look at my template!

My Scene List Spreadsheet

(note, the above link will open as an Excel spreadsheet)