The Path to Publication Step Three: Pre-Outlining

Pre-outlining is a very important step in your novel writing process. This step helps you flesh out your novel idea and get to know your characters. Though you have already determined that you want to keep your novel idea, this step also helps you determine if you still like my novel idea.
1. Read my post on knowing if your novel idea is right for you.
2. Write what you think you might go on the back cover so you have a clear idea to work towards.
Before you write your blurb, take some of your favorite novels from your shelf and read their blurbs. What does the blurb do right? What does the blurb do wrong? How does the blurb leave you wanting to read the novel? In your blurb, make sure to include your character, the setting, the story problem, and end in such a way that leaves people wanting to read your book.
3. Next, list your three plot points.
If you don’t know what a plot point is, it’s a major turning point in your novel. The first plot point usually occur around 15%-25% of the way through your novel, or even less. To use an example from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first plot point occurs when Harry finds out he’s a wizard. The second plot point happens half way through you novel, and the third around 75% of the way through your novel. I will do an in depth look at plot points next.
4. Write down numbers one through ten, each on its own line.
Write down your first plot point on numbers two or three, your second on five, and your third on seven or eight. Fill in the others with scenes that are important in the book, and make the plot points happen. Add foreshadowing to make the plot points believable. This can also be called the brief outline.
5. Learn about your characters.
If you would rather get to know your characters as you write, that’s okay. Just so you know enough about them to make them unique. But if you want to know more about your character, K.M. Weiland has a great character information sheet on her site: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com, and countless others have sheets for your characters as well.
6. Outline the ending.
You need to know what you’re writing and foreshadowing to, so you can write a believable novel.
Okay, that’s all! Next week I’ll be writing about plot points that I talked about in step three.
Liz
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The Path to Publication Step Two: Making a Writing Plan

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to talk about making a writing plan.

Note: This is not for everyone, but for those of you who are super organized and like to have things planned out, I highly recommend this.

What is a writing plan? Well, basically a writing plan is a plot out of all the steps to writing your novel and getting it published. It can be as specific or as vague as you want it to be, and you can change it over time. The writing plan isn’t a strict timeline that you have to follow or suffer the consequences, it’s only a rough estimation of the time it will take to complete the steps to writing and publishing your novel.

The first thing you do is brainstorm the list of steps you want to take. Below is a list of the steps I use (I will cover all these steps in The Path to Publication.):

*Pre-outline

*Outline

*Write first draft

*Put novel aside for at least six weeks

*Read through manuscript

*Make structure changes

*Do a general edit

*Edit grammar and other specific stuff

*Give to a beta reader

*Edit accordingly

*Send to a professional editor

*Re-read and edit as many times as necessary

*Write a query

*Edit query as many times as necessary

*Re-read both novel and query one last time

*Send to agents

Pick and choose what steps you want to use, and add more if you want. Next, add the goal times you want to finish your project. Here is an example of a step in my writing timeline: September 1- September 30: Read through the manuscript and edit. Give yourself more time than you think you’ll need, because life always happens and throws unexpected distractions your way.

After that, set a minimum for how many scenes you want to outline a day for your outline, and how many words you want to write a day for your first draft. I’ll talk more about choosing how many words to write a day as you get closer to writing your first draft.

Compile all your information into one big list, or chart if you are so inclined, and you’ll be set!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or contact me. And if you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe.