Lost at a desk and with a head full of ideas, the means to get your novel just right is nowhere in sight. You want it to be perfect and think that the best way to do that is to make the perfect novel outline. However, as receptions to novels are varied and subjective, is the perfect outline even possible for such a flexible medium?
The perfect novel outline is not universal and differs greatly from author to author. There are many ways to compose an outline and each is just as acceptable as any other. These processes and the distinctions between them will be further detailed down below!
Before delving into the forms of outlines that have names to their trades, it is important to know the two paths to take when going about an outline. One such path is to be cognitively condensed.
This path is simple and only details the necessities of the plot. These necessities can be but are not limited to: putting the idea for your novel into one sentence, planning out basic story points, getting a standard understanding of your characters, deciding the genre of your tale, and figuring out where your narrative takes place.
You do not have to have everything all figured nor should you expect yourself to! Using this will give room for creative freedom and also keep you grounded in what you want to accomplish with your narrative.
Sometimes, keeping things short is a good way to achieve the longest and most impactful results!
In contrast to being cognitively condensed, is the opposite path of being delicately detailed.
This path is a little more detailed and can even involve planning out the whole novel! Some aspects of this include but are not limited to: fleshing out the intricacies of every scene, knowing your characters like the back of your hand, and explaining the events that will occur thoroughly.
Sometimes, taking the extra time to understand what you want to write and why, is a good way to make sure your novel is the greatest it can be!
Two Of Plenty
Although there are many variations of outlines that are either cognitively condensed or delicately detailed, two that are often used by authors are the Beat Sheet and outlining chapter by chapter.
The Beat Sheet is a list that uses either bullet points or numbers that present the main elements of your story.
A chapter-by-chapter outline is an outline of each chapter in detail: what will happen, which characters will be present, and so on.
These two are great options for your perfect novel outline, and if neither works for you, remember there are many more to choose from!
All For You
The perfect novel outline may be perfect for one but not for others. You should not worry about the outline being perfect, only if it works for you. The options are plenty and very possible.