Outlining – finding the right balance for you

Once you’ve decided on the basics you can make a simple outline to guide you. Remember, just because you’ve put something down doesn’t mean you can’t change it at any point. This is to give you a basic foundation for your story that will help to keep you on track. However once you start writing you may find that the character is evolving into someone who might make different choices then the ones you originally thought. Simply adjust your original plan to make sure it still works and carry on.

The following is a three plot or act design:

  1. Inciting incident: this usually occurs after you’ve introduced the main character(s) and the world they live in. Something happens in their life to cause change for the character and force them out of their usual routine.
  2. Plot point #1: this is the first turning point of your character(s) caused by external forces. It’s a time of great danger or difficulty for your main character.
  3. Midpoint: this is the second turning point and should be around halfway through the story. It’s caused by something the protagonist did, usually when they were trying to fix a problem but only made it worse.
  4. Plot point #2: also known as the black moment, it provides the opportunity where all seems lost. There appears to be no way out for the main character and they may be in mortal danger. The protagonist needs to be at the greatest risk at this point.
  5. Climax: The tension increases as the stakes for your protagonist are higher and higher. At the peak of action they win the battle but on the war. They are happy for now.

At the end of your book there needs to be a satisfactory ending. Your readers have invested a lot of time and emotion into your characters and story and are looking to have an ending that feels complete and worth the effort. Tie up any loose plot points and make sure the protagonist has a direction they are headed in with their new found growth and development of character they gained throughout their journey.

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