Outlining Your Novel: Zoe Style (Part One)

As I was chatting with a friend a while ago regarding my novel progress, I began describing my new outlining process, and she suggested that I blog about it so that other people could see my process. I thought I’d describe my new system step by step as I do each one.

For the first step, I cut off a six-foot length of white tablecloth paper. I then drew the diagram below (this one is computer-generated; I forgot to take pictures of the original)

Plot Planner

The long black line is the overall plot line, the contours of which mirror the shape of every novel’s tension (or what should be the shape of every novel’s tension). The red lines indicate the dividers between acts. Each of the blue points is a critical scene that should exist in every well-written story, according to the novel structure authorities.

I drew all this out on my piece of paper with markers, so that I had a six-foot map of my plot.

So what does one do with this six-foot long piece of paper? That’s step two. 🙂

(Note: idea came from Martha Alderson’s The Plot Whisperer)


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