Planning a Novel: Outlines

The current novel I am working on is a mystery series. I had actually intended it to be a romance novel but I learned very quickly I am just not capable, at this time anyway, to write in that genre.

Once I figured out I wanted it to be a mystery I needed to plan out what would happen. Ideas, characters flooded my mind. Quickly I decided on the main characters, a short background history, who the victim and murderer were and why the act was committed.

I found myself labeling each section as scenes. Scene 1 I introduce the main character, Scene 2 I introduce her work life, etc. Sometimes a scene is just a couple of sentences, other times it includes very detailed description of events and dialogue.

I firmly believe there is no right or wrong way to plan your outline. Some people know what they want to write and stick to it while I am sure others change their minds daily on what direction they want to go.

For me an outline lets me see what I’ve built, what I need to add, if there are any plot holes and how it’s all going to come together.

Do you outline? How detailed do you get? Do they help you or just add more stress?

Below are a couple of helpful links on creating outlines:

Writers Digest
The Writing Cooperative
The Write Life

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