I use online writing platform Dabble for my outlining & writing!
Dabble is cloud-based, which means you'll never lose your work, and you can work offline if wifi isn't available and it will immediately sync once you are back online!
Dabble also has zero learning curve due its simplistic design and for just $10 USD a month (billed annually) this is a great affordable option for us starving artists!
If purchasing a writing program subscription isn't in the cards, utilize google docs or google sheets! It's free and cloud-based so you will never lose your work.
I can't stress that point enough. Whatever medium you choose to outline and write your story, ensure it is cloud-based so you never go through the heartbreak of losing what you've written.
Outline your novel with ease using the free downloadable templates below! They will help you setup your novel according to the three act structure, and have links to KM Weiland's blog & books if you need further guidance.
* The templates are compatible with Microsoft Excel & Google Sheets *
Here are the story elements/plot points for Act I in order: (credit KM Weiland)
- HOOK (1% mark) :
"The beginning of any good story is its hook. the hook is nothing more or less than a question. If we can pique our readers’ curiosity, we’ve got ‘em. We’ve created a hook only when we’ve convinced readers to ask the general question, “What’s going to happen?” Because your ability to convince the reader to keep reading is dependent on your hook, it must be present as early as possible in your first scene. In fact, if you can get it into your first line, so much the better." - KM Weiland
- SETUP (1%-12%) Readers learn about your character, their goals and the stakes
- INCITING EVENT (12%) Turning point occurs halfway through the first act. This is the call to adventure. The normal world is rocked by conflict.
- BUILD UP (12%-25%) Final pieces for the main conflict are moved into position while ramping up the tension.
- FIRST PLOT POINT/KEY EVENT (25%) The doorway between the first act and the beginning of the second. example key event physical departure from normal world, first plot point entering adventure world.
For story notes, I recommend having separate tabs on Google Sheets or Google Docs so you can keep everything organized and reference them with ease.
- I typically keep a main character tab and a minor character tab so it doesn’t get too cluttered.
I also like to include:
- A world building tab/document. This is especially vital if you write paranormal, fantasy or science fiction novels.
- A settings tab/document with descriptions of the setting and where everything is in reference to each other geographically.
- A research tab/document if there is anything I have researched that I want to incorporate (and credit!) in my story.
- A writing tips/resources tab/document where I can add various links to writing resources like KM Weiland’s website!