Three Steps to Creating an Outline for your Story


I’ve read manuscripts and novels where the story has no evident direction or a convoluted first half. There should be a climactic scene, with a story that anticipates the climax and prepares the reader many conceivable options for the outcomes in that climax, this will give the story extra power. Otherwise the  events will fail to encourage readers to suspend disbelief. The conclusion the reader discovers at the end should be gradually built throughout with the anticipations slowly raised and linked to the characters and the narrative sequence.. Books with a non-traditional narrative still generally construct a climax and establish direction towards the conclusion.


A good story will avoid only connecting on a surface level how the sequence of events are connected to the protagonist and other collection of characters. The story progression that vaguely draw thinly developed storylines in the construction of narrative structure will more than likely not generate anticipation for the audiences. The most successful techniques leave the reader turning each page irresistibly to discover what happens next and how the primary dilemma will be resolved.  This involves the micro-scale of chapter sections and resolving of conflicts and character issue, while keeping readers guessing and anticipating the final conclusion. While the protagonist is important in revealing the finale to the audience, it’s worth ensuring that readers connect with the other characters by interconnecting their development with the narrative.


Creating a Story Outline – The Central Theme


We discussed the necessity of story structure in engaging with audiences.  The story outline should document how the events and the characters within them will progress through the major development segments and important reveals that occur in the story. This should be achieved through overt and more subtle methods of writing. Don’t forget that the story outline relies heavily on effective progression inside the narrative and that the protagonist should begin in one phase of their live and psychological or emotional condition and end in another.


The story outline should begin with the concept and foundation of your story. Once you have established this central theme you can then begin to draft out a structure that complements the character development and events progression that makes the most sense. Even if initially the sequences appear jumbled and insufficiently related, this stage should be concerned with producing that first draft of the structure. Then your task will be to explore this list of scenes and identify believable and engaging ways of linking the events together. As with many writers certain themes may not be fully fleshed out in your mind at this point. This method will assist writers in building these concepts into stronger and more dramatic elements.


The Story Elements


Writing chapters which contain clearly identifiable situations of cause and effect, with the events and episodes of action which lead to a reaction are essential in showing impact. Think about how many thrillers or murder mysteries utilize cause and effect in moving a story towards either a confrontation or conclusion to an enthralling premise. In literary fiction and emotional drama showing cause and effect is necessary in demonstrating the impressions the events are having on the characters and framing the passage of character development.


Review the chapter and sections to ensure that the story structure has well defined cause and effect that brings the different events together. The succinct and subtle approach is to glide your story through the problem and resolution of each scene without being clunky or rushing the narrative.


The Scene Impact and Impressions


When an important or life changing event takes place, as audiences we subconsciously assume that the individuals we are following will therefore be changed or something different will be noticeable in them. If these indelible differences are not revealed then it can be disappointing. The intrusion could be either positive or negative, as long as the character is moved closer towards the conclusion. The changes could be to the character themselves or the world around them, the differences may be emotional or to a physical location. The vital assumption is that readers need a feeling of events happening and moving forward. Study the story structure, chapters and each section to ensure that the culture of impact and impression is embedded into the narrative, the dialogue and exchanges, character expression and character development.


If the chapters feel like very unconnected without any explanation of what direction they are moving towards this will remove a sense of anticipation from the work. With unconventional narratives or unreliable narrators the protagonist may not have an adversary to overcome or traditional mystery to resolve, but every character has a theme they are exploring and outcome that will be experienced for the individual. This should aptly be described as climax or finale for the character, which requires creating anticipation within the readers. In these instances the culture of impact and impression is essential in maximising both the reaction and attraction to the characters for audiences.