Thursday, September 07, 2006

Lesson 36: Outlining Your Novel

Good Thursday. We are almost done with the book we've been studying. Today we'll work on the Outline. Let's go at it!

Today we continue up with Donald Maass' Writing a Breakout Novel. This is a fabulous book and I encourage each of you to buy it. What I'm presenting here is by no means a full lesson and there is a wealth of insight and additional info that will help you.

In case your just joining us...What I am attempting to do here is present truncated versions of each of the lessons in the workbook. We're done with Plot Development, now we're moving on to General Story Techniques! Today's lesson is in Appendix A: Outlining Your Novel.


There are pros and cons to doing an outline. Today we're pro people. The number in parenthesis after each step tells you the number of paragraphs that each step will yield. If you are able to follow the steps exactly, you will wind up with fifty paragraphs. If you then average four paragraphs per page, at the end of this process you will have the rough draft of a twelve-and-a-half page outline! Along the way you may also have found some new material for your novel itself!

Write down the answers to the following:

A. Plot fundamentals.

1. Where is your novel set, who is your main character, and what is the main problem, conflict, or goal? (1)
2. What does your protagonist most want, and why? (1)
3. What is your protagonist's second plot layer? (1)
4. What is your protagonist's third plot layer? (1)
5. What is the first subplot? (1)
6. What is the second subplot? (1)
7. Who is the most important secondary or supporting character, what is their main problem, conflict, or goal, and what do they most want? (1)
8. Who is the novel's antagonist, what is his main problem, conflict, or goal, and what does he most want? (1)

B. The Middle

9. What are the five biggest steps toward the solution of your protagonist's main problem? Another was to ask that is: What are the five turning points or events that you positively cannot leave out? (Include your story's climax.) (5)

10. What are the five most important steps toward, or away from, what your protagonist most wants? (5)

11. What are the three most important steps (each) toward, or away from, the resolution of your first and second subplots? (6)

12. What are the three most important steps toward, or away from, the resolution of each main problem facing your foremost secondary character and your antagonist? (6)

13. What are the three most important steps toward, or away from, the resolution of each main problem facing your foremost secondary character and your antagonist? (6)

C. Highlights.

14. Two moments of strong inner conflict. (2)

15. Three larger-than-life actions. (3)

16. Five places to heighten turning points or high moments.

17. Two moments frozen in time. (2)

18. Two measures of change. (2)

19. The psychology of place with respect to the setting of the novel's climax. (1)

20. Three dialogue snippets (3)

21. A paragraph of resolution. (1)

D. Putting it together
Elaborate in a paragraph what you wrote down in each of the steps above!

And Lastly....A Joke for ya'!

Mrs. Johnson decided to have her portrait painted by a famous artist.

She told the artist, "Paint me with diamond earrings, a diamond necklace, emerald bracelets and a ruby pendant."

"But you are not wearing any of those things."

"I know," said Mrs. Johnson. "My health is not good and my husband is having an affair with his secretary. When I die I'm sure he will marry her, and I want her to go nuts looking for the jewelry."

3 Comments:

  1. jel said...
    morning bonnie,
    like the new look!

    and the joke was a hoot!


    have a great day!
    Bernita said...
    Some of these jokes make good plot twists.
    Debrand said...
    The new template is cool!

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