Four Sites to Help Pantsers Try the Dreaded Outline

This upcoming Friday, I will be discussing my thoughts on the outlining in general, but today I’ll be compiling a whole bunch of different sites that give you different ideas on outlining.

I know, I know, for more than a few people, outlining is something you’d like to avoid at all costs. But it helps in the long run, and it’s always good to try different styles of writing and plotting. So, without further ado, here are the four sites that I found have awesome information regarding outlining.

1. “How to Outline Your Novel: The Options” on

Be advised, this has quite a bit of profanity on it, but if that’s something you don’t mind or something you can sit through, I think it’s worth it. Blogger Chuck Wendig lists 14 suggestions on outlining, with the pros and cons of each listed underneath. 14. You’re sure to find one version of outline or another that you can bear writing with. He mentions zero outlining, something I’ve heard of recently but never tried. It’s less of an outline, more of a really short, really crappy first draft.

2. “8 Ways to Outline a Novel” on Lit Reactor

Several of these are similar/the same as those found on Chuck Wendig’s blog, but Lit Reactor includes a few others, including the snowflake method and the use of an outlining program like Scrivener. #4, the Flashlight Outlining method, is one that I tried (though I didn’t realize it had a name) for the second book in my series. It helped me plan the book while at the same time pointing out where it needed more conflict.

3. “7 Steps to Creating a Flexible Outline for Any Story” on Writer’s Digest

Guest blogger K. M. Weiland gives only one suggestion, but like the She’s Novel post listed below, it’s less of a formal outline and more of a series of questions to get you thinking about your book. Weiland suggests crafting first the general idea of the plot, and then going a little more in-depth. Character interviews and setting exploration are also suggested.

4.  “How to Write a Novel Outline (Like the Boss Lady You Are)” from She’s Novel

Here’s She’s Novel again. If you’re a person who likes to plan out their novel extensively, this blog post might be a good route to go. This is less of an outline, and more of a compilation of various information that you’re going to need to know. Characters, plot, setting… Kristin even touches base with the idea of knowing audience and genre before getting started. There’s a workbook to use, if that’s something you’re interested in. Only downside is that it requires quite a bit of work.


Just a few days past mid-July, and I got stuck on my Camp NaNoWriMo project. But as of this morning, I’m caught up to where I’d been. Current word count is 10,960 out of 17,500. The awesome little target thing says I’m on the edge of the 75% ring. Best of luck to the rest of you.


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