Plot/Outlining

Resources for plot development and outlining methods.

Site
Description
Usefulness Rating
Sample Mystery Plot OutlineGreat starting point for your mystery. Goes over all the major elements (and logical order) for writing a mystery. 4
Better Novel Project: Master Plot OutlineThis is a super interesting site that looks at common elements in blockbuster YA novels (Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games) then has an outline based on those common elements. I use the site a lot when I'm stuck at a point (generally in the middle) and am looking for ideas to stir up the plot. 5
Story Planner HelperStory Planner is a really neat site for writers. There have a number of different planning tools to help writers develop their narrative in a way that works best for them. If you're still looking for your own writing method, this gives you a way to look at a number of different methods all in easy-to-use web forms. 5
Story Planner: Take Off Your Pants! Outline‘Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing’ by Libbie Hawker is my FAVORITE outlining book. It's simple, logical and character based. It starts with a character flaw then builds up 5 points that make up your Story Core. This Story Planner template gives you a taste of what the method looks like, but I strongly recommend you also check out the book. 5
Story Structure SeriesK.M. Weiland is the QUEEN of outlining and story structure. Her books and workbooks provide a thorough and detailed way to structure your plot and story. This series of articles focuses on story structure. I recommend looking through it prior to starting the outlining process. 5
Writer's Toolbox: TimelineAn important thing to remember when outlining (or editing) is having a timeline of your novel's events. It's not as easy to keep track of in your head as you might think. This article can help!4
Master Plots This article gives a brief definition of the different master plots you will see in fiction. No details on the specific plotting for each, but it's a good place to start understanding what form your story will take. 3
Creating Scenes and SequelsThere are more detailed how-tos out there for writing scenes and sequels. This is a great place to start looking at the two structures and how they work together. 4
How To Structure ScenesIn K.M. Weiland fashion, a detailed series on how to write scenes and sequels.5
Top Ten Plotting ProblemsI'm a huge fan of advice for things NOT to do, so this article was very helpful to me. Sometimes I think it is easier to look at what you have an determine if it's not necessary then it is to look at what you haven;t written yet. In any case, this makes a great checklist, particularly for your first edit read-through. 5
Checklist for Creating a Great StoryYou know I love a good checklist and this one doesn't disappoint. This link actually probably belongs in all the categories since it goes over elements in plot and characterization down to line-level items like dialogue. I use this both after outlining (but before drafting) and after 1st round edits. 5
The Importance of a Strong Opening SceneThis is a detailed breakdown of what goes into a good opening scene for your novel. It's directed at the mystery genre, but applicable to all stories. EXAMPLES of what elements work in an opening scene. 5