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  • Outlining your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
  • by K. M. Weiland
  • Read: Oct 13, 2020
Outlining your Novel: Map Your Way to Success book cover

I picked this book up because I’ve always been interested in outlining. But even more so I’ve fascinated by how many people are fans of outlining. To the point where there are discussion about things like “is OmniOutliner or OneNote the better outlining app” and the point that there are even dedicated outlining apps. I’ve mostly done outlining for my writing with bullet points in a plain text or markdown file. And I wanted to know if I’m missing anything. In addition to that I also find the process of writing a book or novel super fascinating. I don’t know if I would want to write one. But the process of planning, structuring, and writing something of that size I find very interesting and fascinating. And I wanted to see if I could learn something from it for shorter writing like documentation and blog posts.

The book is structured in a way where only the first two chapters are really about outlining itself. The advantages of writing an outline versus writing “at the seat of your pants” as well as different approaches to outlines (e.g. mind maps, longform writing, bullet points) are discussed.

The following chapters then are a whirlwind tour through planning a novel and how to apply outlining to areas like plot planning, character development, or creating a backstory. At the end of every chapter there is an interview with a writer about the value and their approach in outlining.

I really enjoyed reading the book. I learned a lot about structuring my writing and what kind of things go into planning a novel. It’s very accessibly written and the chapters all have a good length so it never feels like they are dragged out or missing content. I could have done without the writer interviews as they didn’t really add a lot to the book but had a couple of interesting anecdotes. I don’t know if there would be anything new for a seasoned author in the book, but I can definitely recommend it as a quick intro into planning a novel.