Thursday, September 26, 2013

Outline Writing 101

Now that you've completed your brainstorming and Synopsis, you may want to create an Outline!

What is an Outline? While a Synopsis is a detailed summary of your story, an outline is a document that summarizes the plot points in each chapter. If you're a planner, Outlines can be a wonderful way to keep you on track with your writing for each chapter. Here's an example:


Mary Sue and her boyfriend John Smith are driving home from a party when they get in a car accident. Mary wakes up in the hospital, with no one around and blood lining the walls. As she makes her way back out into the world, she is attacked by a dirty man who won’t stop walking towards her, even when she hits him with a plank of wood. As Mary peers over a hill and witnesses an ambling, undead crowd, she realizes that she is one of the sole survivors of a zombie apocalypse.


Mary finds a newspaper and realizes she's been in the hospital for a week. She wonders what could have happened in a week that caused a zombie apocalypse, and is filled with grief for her boyfriend John. She struggles to make her way home to their shared apartment, but must run from a horde of attacking zombies. Mary is saved at the last minute by a former coworker, Derek, with whom she had a minor fling three years ago.


Derek takes Mary back to a hideout shared by other survivors. They tell Mary what happened in the week she was unconscious, explaining that the President confessed he'd been ordering bioweapons manufacturing, and an accident in one of the plants led to the zombie outbreak. The President resigned in shame and the promoted Vice-President has taken an aggressive stance towards the outbreak areas, sealing them off from the rest of the world. Supplies are airlifted to survivors every few days, but it's dangerous to go and retrieve them. The new President has stated that the area won't be de-quarantined until the survivors manage to put down every single zombie in the infected areas. Derek tells Mary her boyfriend is pretty much guaranteed to be a zombie, and despite her grief Mary agrees to join their zombie-killing efforts in order to survive.

Now you try! If you want to, share the first few chapters of your outline with us in the comments section!

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