writing, story outlining, templates, free, self-publishing, creative writing,

Must Have Writing Tools for Story Outlining


Tools and Templates for Your Story Outline

As a writer, I am a planner. I am a huge fan of outlining a story or book and find the process extremely enjoyable.


Planning your book with a story outline is a great way to break it down into small writing goals, each with a focused idea.

What I love about brainstorming an outline: I can think up an idea, break it down into major scenes, and get an overall feel for the story I’m wanting to write. I can follow a general story arch and make sure that my major scenes are occurring where they need to. It’s a fun exercise that allows me to see the whole story idea come together before a word of it is actually written.


Scrivener is the number one tool writers use to write their books. It has great options for storyboarding/outlining. It formats your book for uploading to your publisher. Go check out everything this program has to offer. Honestly, if you don’t have Scrivener, I strongly suggest you make the investment. Below is my affiliate link.

Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)

If you have Scrivener, another great tool you may want to try is Scapple. Scapple is an easy-to-use tool for getting ideas down as quickly as possible and making connections between them. It isn’t exactly mind-mapping software—it’s more like a freeform text editor that allows you to make notes anywhere on the page and to connect them using straight dotted lines or arrows. If you’ve ever scribbled down ideas all over a piece of paper and drawn lines between related thoughts, then you already know what Scapple does. Plus, you can drag your notes right into Scrivener.

What’s Great About Outlining

  • Outlining breaks down your story idea into small enough segments that you can write about them in one sitting.
  • You can focus on one scene at a time and know where the story is heading so you can really dive into the scene with confidence.
  • You can add details concerning character development to the story arc. I actually add to my outline, about a paragraph on what’s going on in each scene, or what needs to happen, and what’s changing or coming to light with the characters.
  • You can set a milestone goal for each scene and reward yourself each time you’ve finished one. Rewarding yourself along the way will make you more apt to continue with a writing routine.


Here are some great books I recommend if you’re looking to learn more about outlining.

41rtj4w2zzl-_sy346_ Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success

by K.M. Weiland




For those of you who are wanting to get started right away, here are some templates that you can post up as references to help you as you work through your outline. Although there are several different plot themes you could use and many different methods of outlining, in these templates you’ll find a basic outlining method that works well for most works of fiction. However, I highly recommend reading one or more of the books above before you begin.

*Right-click on the template to save to your computer and print. Images should print as 8.5 x 11 inch or you can choose your own printing options if you’d like them smaller.

Step One: Some basics to consider before you start your outline.



Step Two: Some pre-outline questions that will help you get started.



Step Three: A layout of a basic story structure for reference.



Step Four: A story outline template with the story structure highlighted where it should appear within the story arc.




For an eye-catching book cover design


21 thoughts on “Must Have Writing Tools for Story Outlining”

  1. Thank you! This was a good read! And good advice! Will have to try the outlining planning on my second book! I’ve got how the plot sort of will turn out for it, but not in quite a way like how you pointed out how to plan the outline in this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Selnaak! You’re welcome 🙂 I’m glad you found this helpful. Good luck with your plotting, just start with the basic outline of names or headlines for each act, chapter, and scene. Then add a short paragraph under each of those that describes the basics of whats going on in each. After that you should have a good feel for your story, then you can drill down even further and plot the arc of each scene and each chapter. Don’t forget that you want to leave your reader wanting to know more at the end of each scene and each chapter, as well as each act. So you want to keep your momentum building. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi, Michelle! And thank you! 🙂 (I should probably really change my username and make a profile to where I can have a profile picture on my blog, lol.) And OK! Will try that! I should probably look at the PDFs as well!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. A Dark Mage who travels across tge world, then comes across a village that is attacked by a dragon that went rogue (dragons are supposed to be divine). But then, realized that somethijg else was tge cause of the dragon going rogue, a branch of species of the elves.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Michelle! I found your last two printables particularly interesting to look at. Do you use this when writing your stories? Do you always start with nine chapters and twenty-seven scenes? Does this usually change by the time you’re through with the editing or do you hold fast to this structure until the end?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jordy, you’re welcome 😀 This is just my go-to outline, I’ll be putting together more outline templates later on. I use this outline as a rough start – it usually morphs into a much larger layout though. But as it sits it give’s you a good draft to start with. The thing to remember for fiction tho, is that there is an arc in every chapter, as well as in every scene. So as long as you follow that principle you’re pretty much good to go. Once you get down to filling in the details for your scenes to flow with the story arch, you have a good idea of where you may want to add scenes or chapters. Hope that helps 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment below

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s