Outline method

an example

  1. Jeff Countryman
    I swear by outlining . . . but wow, once I put in word constraints (ie 110,000 words for the entire novel) it gets frustrating to keep within it. It does force me to stay focussed on moving forward though - you can block each 'section' into percentages and get your maximum word count from there to ensure the novel is 'moving'. I give myself a break though - I make sure I give myself a day a week to just write anything within the novel and ignore the 'rules' ( a lot more fun!).

    It's worth investigating.

    This is an example of your classic 3-act, 12-part novel:

    Novel = 110,00 words

    ACT I – (23%) 32,200 Words Total
    Section 1 – (2%) Hero at home – 2,800 Words
    Section 2 – (6%) A significant event – 8,400 Words
    Section 3 – (5%) Hero consults friend- 7,000 Words
    Section 4 – (10%) Hero makes a decision – 14,000 Words

    ACT II – (48%) 67,200 Words Total
    Section 5 – (3%) Hero crosses line – 4,200 Words
    Section 6 – (22%) Hero faces opposition – 30,800 Words
    Section 7 – (11%) Further tribulations - 15,400 Words
    Section 8 – (12%) Crisis for Hero – 16,800 Words

    ACT III – (29%) 40,600 Words Total
    Section 9 – (3%) Hero rallies – 4,200 Words
    Section 10 – (11%) Disaster threatens – 15,400 Words
    Section 11 – (10%)Hero confronts Antagonist – 14,000 Words
    Section 12 – (5%) Hero returns to everyday world – 7,000 Words