Plot – sketchy outline

Even if you’re a seat of the pants writer, try doing a sketchy outline.

Many of my friends sell books on proposal, which means they write three chapters and an outline of the book, not the entire manuscript. When their publisher okays the proposal, they write the book based on the outline.

Sometimes the book changes from the outline, but just having the outline can help a writer focus their story better.

A sketchy outline can be as simple as four sentences—

One sentence for the character’s beginning world, and the inciting incident that starts them on their external goal.

One sentence for the middle, and the kinds of things that will directly obstruct the character’s external goal.

One sentence for the climax and the black moment.

One sentence to explain how things wrap up at the end.

See? Very sketchy, and very simple. Yet sometimes even a sketchy outline will help a writer in amazing ways as they write their book.