Tag Archives: Novel

Must Have Writing Tools for Story Outlining

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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.

Brainstorming

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.


Tools

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.

Books

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

 

 


Templates

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.

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

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

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

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For an eye-catching book cover design

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Cover Reveals: Bold & Exciting

Michelle Rene Goodhew: illustrated book covers designed for author Susan Lattwein.

as released on:

Creative Review


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Arafura – Blood, the Wet and Tears: Nobody said the build-up would be easy. No body …

&
Arafura – Unfinished Business: Love is patient. Love is kind. Sometimes love is explosive.


I started this project with the second novel first and was asked later to redesign the first cover in the series. I began with energy and excitement because I knew I was going to try something different in my way of illustrating. Susan had requested a naval ship on the cover dressed in party lights, and this was a romance novel. How was I going to bring her story forward with these beginning ideas? And then I had a great idea, I would bring attention to the intensity of her novel through a bold play on color and my use of line.

As Susan had put it, “It’s not easy explaining what you want on a cover when you’re not sure yourself, let alone to someone on the other side of the earth, via email and not over a cup of coffee with the advantage of waving your arms around to get your point across …”


Arafura BWT 3

Working on the ‘Arafura’ books has been full of rewards. The sunset was a new venture that I started with a wax base for texture. I have never constructed a painting this way and thought it was vibrant and captured the color I was looking for. Susan responded with a request to give the clouds more definition and I’m so grateful she did. The final result is striking compared to my first draft. This is a great new style for me and I look forward to trying it again.

Arafura UB 1.5

I guess I had a good vision of the ship from nearly the beginning. I had started with a side profile and then Susan recommended the front view of the ship hoping for a more ominous feeling. I ran with that and had a clear Idea of how I wanted the colors to play on the surface of the steel. My intention was to have a bit of an abstract feel in the final piece. I thought it would allow me to really bring those bold colors forward, and I think I managed that in the end. Putting the lights on the ship was tedious but satisfying because each one just seemed to spring to life with a little glow. It was the first time I have ever attempted party lights and my technique proved successful. Joy!

I love the energy I have had while putting this together. Susan has been an amazing author to work with, she has a delightful personality with an edge of humor that really is a great combination to collaborate with. I was hoping to mirror Susan’s wit, the charm she displays in her storytelling, as well as the stories vivid depth. I hope I did it justice.


Here’s what Susan has to say about her books…

“The cover briefs were tricky to explain because I’m still not exactly sure which genre ‘Arafura – Blood, the Wet and Tears’ and the sequel ‘Arafura – Unfinished Business’ belong to. Romantic suspense/comedy/drama/action/?”


Here is her description for the first book in the Arafura series:

“Sensible schoolteacher Kat is planning to marry when her long-term fiancé finds the time. When the mysterious and damaged Adam arrives in town, Kat is jolted well out of her comfort zone. Despite her loyal intentions, a dead body and enough pre-monsoonal weather to strangle a Kat, she must wrestle with an instant attraction that is emotionally risky and absolutely, definitely fraught.”


The storyline of “Arafura – Unfinished Business” will be published by the end of October this year.

If you’re interested, Arafura – Blood, the Wet and Tears can be purchased from Amazon, or Smashwords. It’s also available at Smashwords’ global network of on-line retailers, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Angus and Robertson, Collins, Kobo, FlipKart etc.Arafura will appeal to female and male readers who enjoy quirky, witty suspense with dark edges.

Michelle Rene Goodhew
Illustrator