I’ve written nearly 200 books, two-thirds of those novels — and guess what?
Oh, I’m not saying I don’t have an idea where I’m going. I don’t just sit in front of a blank screen and hope a plot magically appears.
Whether you tend to determine everything in advance — each detail researched and thestory plotted with precision— or you simply want a rough synopsized roadmap, you might enjoy knowing you have lots of options.
我们的panters从前提的细菌开始，强大的铅角色和一个想法开始思考things will end.
这n we, as King puts it, “put有趣的角色在困难的情况下，写信以找出发生的事情。”
So, regardless whether you’re an Outliner or a Pantser, you need an idea where you’re headedbefore从你开始。即使你无法想象everoutlining, don’t assume there’s nothing in this post for you.
Pantsing or Outlining, neither is better or worse. One will simply feel most natural to you — and once you determine which you are, you’ll likely write better with that approach.
You may even be a hybrid — one who needs the security of an outlineand自由let the storytake you where it will. (In truth, most of us are hybrids to a point.)
Whichever you are, at some point during the writing you’ll likely wish you were the other.
When I hit the wall at the halfway to three-quarter mark of just about every novel, a story outline sounds like a great security blanket.
Deep down, I know better. Outlines just don’t work for me. Somehow, when I try to plot a story in advance — telling myself I’ll write more confidently, things get predictable.
No idea whether you’re an Outliner or a Pantser?Try outlining your novel。如果您渴望开始写作的冲动，那么您可能是一个裤子。
Try just diving in, and if you’re soon lost and feel you don’t evenknow your characters, you may be an Outliner who needs to back up and think things through before you start.
不要误会故事structurefor an大纲, because regardless whether you’re an Outliner or a Pantser, you need a structure.
这Classic Story Structure, created by bestselling author迪恩·科恩茨（Dean Koontz）, changed my career and catapulted me from a mid-list genre novelist to a bestselling author.
It’s simple. He advises you:
- 你的主角陷入可怕的困境s soon as possible。（根据您的流派，这种麻烦看起来会有所不同。对于惊悚片，这可能是生命或死亡。对于浪漫史，这可能意味着在两个求婚者之间选择女主人公。）这一定是您可以想象的最糟糕的麻烦并带有足够可怕的赌注，足以证明一个长本书的故事。
- Everything your character does to try to get out of that trouble makes it only worse。避免诱惑使您的主角生活轻松。每种并发症都必须是合乎逻辑的（不是巧合的结果），事物必须增长progressively更差。
- 最终事情达到了明显的绝望点。即使您也应该想知道如何从中写出角色。使困境变得如此绝望，迫使您的领导采取行动，利用面对所有麻烦而获得英勇的所有新肌肉和技术appearedbeyond repair.
- Finally, everything your character has learned through all that struggle and failure gives him what he needs to win the day — or fail（偶尔，不常见的结局会引起读者的共鸣）。通过将您的英雄登上舞台，采取行动来奖励读者，他们期望的回报。Give them a finishworthy of their investment of time and money in your novel.
Whether you use this, or one of the other six story structures I explain in novel outline step #2 below, find a strategy that helps keep you — and your readers — engaged to the end.
如何Outline a Novel in 6 Steps
Even though I’m not an Outliner, I never write a novel without a structure in mind.
故事大纲（无论您看起来像您是裤子，即使是基本结构）应该是流畅的 - 在您写作和情节发展时都可以更改。
For the Pantser, your structure may be as simple as a list of anticipated plot points — more of a roadmap.
For the Outliner, it may be an ambitious 20+ page detailed list in classic outline format — filled with Roman numerals and capital and lowercase letters followed by Arabic numerals.
Whatever form it takes, it should help narrow your focus so you can get on withwriting your novel。
This might also serve as your电梯音高— what you’d share with a publishing professional between the time you meet him on the elevator and the time he gets off.
I once wrote a novel about a judge who tries a man for a murder that the judge committed.
That was the extent of my Elevator Pitch.
简单，简短而简洁 - 正是一个想法的细菌变成了Margo, my very first novel.
2. Decide on a story structure for your novel.
各种为通讯写教练使用不同的术语on fiction elements, but they’re largely similar. Every effective story will include some version of:
- An opener
- An inciting incident that changes everything
- A climax
- An end
这re’s no end to suggested story structures, but here are seven popular ones:
- 迪恩·科恩茨（Dean Koontz）’s Classic Story Structure
- InMedias Res
- 这7-Point Story Structure
- 兰迪·英格曼森（Randy Ingermanson）的雪花法
- 这Three-Act Structure
- James Scott Bell’s “Disturbance and Two Doorways”
For a more in-depth explanation of each, follow the links above or visit my post on story structurehere。
Keep in mind, what works for me may not work for you. Peruse these and try a few on for size. Something is bound to make sense and give you a leg up on crafting your novel.
Outliners tend to get to know each character by绘制背景故事of each. They conduct imaginary interviews and simply ask the characters about themselves.
Readers won’t likely see most of this information, but it will inform your writing.
无论您是事先了解自己的角色，还是让他们在写作时向您展示自己，使他们成为人类，脆弱和有缺陷 - 最终是英勇而鼓舞人心的，但并不完美。没有人能以完美身份识别。
In the endyour heroshould rise to the occasion and win against all odds. But he must grow into that from a stance of reality, humanity.
ReadYour Ultimate Guide to Character Development: 9 Steps to Creating Memorable Heroesand如何创建强大的角色弧for more on the subject.
Using a story structure like one of the above,map out your storyusing one of these plot types:
- Change: a person undergoes a dramatic transformation.
- Mistake: an innocent person caught in a situation he doesn’t understand must overcome foes and dodge danger.
- Lure: a person must decide whether to give in to temptation, revenge, rage, or some other passion. He grows from discovering things about himself.
- Race: characters chase wealth or fame but must overcome others to succeed.
- Gift: an ordinary person sacrifices to aid someone else. The lead may not be aware of his own heroism until he rises to the occasion.
Regardless which you choose, make every word count. Your primary goal should be to grab your reader by the throat from the get-go and never let go.
5. Decide on the setting for your novel.
Setting may include location, time, or era, but it should also include how something looks, smells, feels, and sounds.
Avoid simply describing the setting — especially as a separate element. Layer it in as part of the narrative,part of the story。
That way it becomes almost invisible, but suggestions of what things look and feel and sound like register in the theater of the readers’ minds while they’re concentrating on the action, thedialogue， 这紧张and drama andconflictthat keep them turning the pages.
彻底研究细节, but remember, this provides simply the seasoning and should not become the main course, which is the story itself.
6. Synopsize the chapters of your novel.
Write briefly in third person, present tense about what happens in each chapter. Leave no mysteries, teasers, or questions.
Jason learns his daughter has been kidnapped.
At the grocery store, Sally is riveted by the best-looking man she’s ever seen.
Also helpful: Include a briefcharacter sketch: “JON NELSON (38 — a retired mercenary and now a bodyguard) takes a call…”
如果您是一名外观，并且想双脚跳进去，请掌握Dr. Randy Ingermanson- 小说家的谢尔顿·库珀（Sheldon Cooper）。
On这Big Bang Theory，谢尔顿拥有硕士学位和两个博士学位。
Randy got his M.A. and Ph.D. in physics, specializing in elementary particle theory. He also did two years of post-graduate work on superstring theory.
He now applies that intellect to novel writing and teaching writing and has become a story outliner extraordinaire.
You may want to invest in hisWriting Fiction for Dummies, as well.
如果您是个裤子，兰迪会告诉您远离他的方法 - 他说utliners是uthiners，而裤子是裤子，而吐温永远不会见面。
Additional Story Outline Methods
- Reverse Outline: InOutlining Your Novel, writing coach K.M. Weiland recommends this, especially for Pantsers experimenting with outlining. She advises starting at the end of the story. Ask questions to help you discover events that immediately precede each scene as you work backwards. (How was the character injured? Where? Why did the bad guys choose him over another character? Why didn’t they kill him? Will he escape? If so, how?…) Answering such questions will help set up your scenes with necessary plot points.
- 思维导图：a hierarchical diagram that visually represents the plot points, characters, themes, conflicts, and chapters in your book.
Below is a mind map example shared by Nina Amir from如何写书。她建议为每个章节，每个字符，每个主要事件等使用单独的思维图。
- Synopsis:an informal approach to outlining that condenses the plot, characters, conflicts, and themes into a brief summary. (For more on this, visit my blog postHow to Write a Compelling Synopsis）
- 节拍纸：a bullet pointed or numbered list that outlines the main elements of your story.
Choose approaches that help narrow your focus so you can get on withwriting your novel。
Outliners and Pansters have much to learn from each other’s methods. Determine which works best for you, and have fun with it.