There is no wrong or right way to write a plot. Some people don’t outline, and others follow their outline religiously. If you have a rough idea of what your story is, you’re already outlining!
Outlining is a great way to figure out the journey so that you know where you’re headed. It helps visualize the big picture, allows you to keep track of where you’re at in the story, and acts as a guiding light to avoid writer’s block.
- Craft your premise — The premise is the underlying idea of your story. It should answer a few questions, such as “who is the protagonist”, “what is the setting”, “what’s their goal”, “do they reach it by the story’s end”?
- Create your characters — You’ll have to give them driving fears and desires – they need something to win, and something to lose. Come up with the obstacles they face, which then influences the way they behave in the story.
- Define the beginning, middle and end of the story — You can choose which story structure you’d like to use. The beginning will always introduce the characters, the main conflict, and how the protagonist(s) want to resolve it. It’s good practice to figure out the end of your story before thinking of its middle – this gives you room to answer the dramatic question without obsessing over it, and you can always tweak it as you write!
- Write the scenes — Thanks to your outline, you now know which scenes go where. However, not everything needs to be perfect – you may want to edit your outline and it’s scenes, that’s the beauty of writing, it’s all in your hands.
Now that you know how to outline your plot, get to creating the great world and characters you have in mind!