Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success

by K. M. Weiland

Paperback, 2011




PenForASword (2011), Edition: 6.1.2011, 192 pages


Explores how to choose the right type of outline for your novel, brainstorm plot ideas, discover characters, structure scenes, and format and finish an outline.

User reviews

LibraryThing member JudyCroome
Outlining is my weakest point as an author, because outlining (like two people running across a cricket pitch, when only the runs for one will count as a score!) has always struck me as a waste of precious creative time. Weiland’s excellent book has gone a long way to changing my mind.

Well-set out, easy to read and meticulously researched, Weiland’s professional advice is touched with a natural, appropriate humour that makes learning from this text a pleasure.

While Weiland gives solid, practical advice on how to make an outline work for you, she is not prescriptive. There’s an emphasis on the importance of finding a way of outlining that enhances your own creative process, rather than exhorting the reader to slavishly follow one “right” way of outlining. The inclusion of interesting interviews with several published authors about their outlining process underlines the main point of this book: having an outline is vital for a well-structured book, but the shape an outline takes is up to each individual author.

Another useful part of the book was the check list at the end of each chapter (my favourite checkpoint is from Chap 11: “Kick the cat off the keyboard”!!! HRH Theodorable may object to that advice!)

Although there was much in the book that, as an experienced author, I’ve already learnt along the way, Weiland has organized her writing advice in such a clear, focused and informative manner that, by the end of the book, I had a stronger logical understanding of much that I had done unconsciously in my writing. As Weiland points out, the best novels are those that perfectly blend rational, logical techniques of writing with the intuitive, creative art of writing. After having read this book, I feel better equipped to at least aim for this sweet spot in writing my next novel.

I highly recommend this book to experienced authors. For new authors, I would suggest it is essential reading.
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LibraryThing member Soireb
First reading attempt
From December 23, 2012 until February 17, 2013

I began this book with the full intention of going through the entirety of it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, life got on the way and I couldn't go farther than 17% into it. I'm taking off my currently reading shelve (as I'm really not reading it at all) for the time being. I will come back to it in the future.… (more)
LibraryThing member psutto
As with most things, if I need to learn how to do something I’ll turn to text. This is a how to book on, as the title says, outlining your novel. Weiland discusses the pros and cons of planning versing flying by the seat of your pants (or pantsing as it's known to writers)and misconceptions on outlining. Is an advocate on the benefits of outling, as you’d expect and gives a really thorough guide on how to do it. Along the way she ads inter-chapter interviews with a whole host of writers, gives practical examples using her own writing and makes sure that there are checklists that you can refer easily to.

Overall - If you want to learn how to outline then you won’t go wrong if you use this book.
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LibraryThing member TW_Spencer
After reading this book, Outlining Your Novel, I am impressed with the author's keen insight on novel construction. Her book has given me great insight into my currant manuscript. I have been a pantser for years, but when I started working on my current project, at the beginning of this year’s National Novel Writing Month, I soon realized that the idea was just too BIG.

I have had this idea playing around the back of my head for going on ten years now. I thought I had a good sense of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to write. Though by the end of November, and over 90,000 words later, I felt I really had gone nowhere with the story/characters. This manuscript required a thorough plotting before I could really understand what I was writing and the statement I wanted to get across to the reader.

The author's clear and concise book has helped to settle my muddy lake of creativity; in fact, the dam that blocked my creative river has a gaping hole down the middle. Had I not stumbled across Outlining Your Novel while searching for help to get out of the quagmire I had written myself into, I would still be floundering in the murky depths.

So I can’t thank the author enough for writing this book. I want her to know that I plan to follow the insights of her book to the letter. I don’t expect them to make me the next great author, but book has given me the tools to map out a clear path to what I truly want to write. I thank K. M. Weiland, sincerely, for that. Though it still remains to be seen, I believe she has made me a better writer.
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