Go from idea to outline—and finish your draft without freaking out

Story Outlines (book cover)

Sizzling Story Outlines: How to Outline Your Screenplay or Novel, Always Know “What Happens Next,” and Finish Your Rough Draft Without Freaking Out

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The joy of it. The thrill of it.

The money too.

When writing’s going well, it can be immensely satisfying, not to mention lucrative.

When it’s going well, the words flow freely, and you hammer them out on your keyboard like you’re Thor.

But, all too often, this isn’t the case.

In the beginning, sure. Enthralled by your story idea, you write tons of material. Your word count grows in leaps and bounds. But the deeper you get into your screenplay or novel, the more difficult writing it becomes.

The words no longer flow freely; they trickle out.

Panicked, you stare at your computer screen…and wonder, What happens next?

You have no idea.

You’ve run out of steam.

You’re stuck.

After several days of not writing anything at all, it dawns on you. You’ve wasted your precious time on a project that’s doomed.

With a sigh of resignation, you stash away your unfinished draft in your desk drawer, where it joins a host of other false starts.

’Course, you’re a writer. You get antsy if you spend too long without writing.

So you try again. This time you’re luckier.

Sort of.

Although you wrote yourself into a corner, this time, you managed to write yourself out of it. You didn’t abandon your draft one-third of the way through.

You finished it.

Even so, you’re not terribly keen to celebrate. To be ready to sell, this draft needs major restructuring.

Major, major restructuring.

The works.

Scenes, chapters, the last third of your screenplay or novel—thousands of words have to be scrapped—undoing hours, weeks, maybe months of labor.

After a few cycles of this, you may question whether you’re even cut out for this writing gig, after all.

Don’t lose faith!

The problem isn’t with you. It’s with your method.

Here’s one solution: outline your screenplay or novel before writing it.

And by outline, I don’t mean a list of indented items, each one prefaced by a Roman numeral. (When have those been useful outside of school?)

By outline, I mean a list of all your story events, described in about a sentence apiece, and arranged (more or less) according to the order you envision them unfolding in your screenplay or novel.

With such an outline in hand, you won’t get stranded. You’ll know where your story is headed; you won’t have to decide where to take it.

You’ll always know what happens next.

You can navigate blank pages without panicking.

With Sizzling Story Outlines, you’ll learn—step by step—how to quickly produce such an outline.

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Specifically, you’ll follow a three-part process that looks like this:

Make Sure Your Story Idea Isn’t a Time-Sink

When you get a seemingly great story idea, you probably like to “run with it.”

Here’s the thing: not all ideas are worth the time it takes to outline them, let alone write a first draft based on them.

No matter whether you’re “a plotter” or “a pantser,” you should develop your story idea first, so it has the six components all compelling stories share.

This way, you can maximize its potential, making sure it has enough substance to sustain a full-length film or novel—and enough appeal to attract an audience to read (or watch) it.

Also, as a matter of practicality, this is the only way to generate an outline of value, one you can actually get mileage out of. You can’t really plot your story in advance unless you first have some understanding of what it’s about.

Build Your Story Structure

Even a great idea can collapse if it doesn’t have solid structure to support it.

Basically, when well-executed, story structure ensures your screenplay or novel will become progressively more interesting as it goes along. You’ll have a solid framework to support your heart-wrenching scenes or spine-tingling set pieces.

In addition, because you’ve figured out structural signposts in advance, you won’t be traversing in the dark, where you don’t know what happens next, for very long.

You’ll always have a bearing to head toward, a destination just around the corner.

Hence, you’re unlikely to become so discouraged that you abandon your project altogether—the tragic result that frequently arises when you write blindly from FADE IN or Chapter 1.

But if you want to boost your confidence and enhance your efficiency, then you’ll want to—

Outline Your Story with a Method Backed by Scientific Research (Sort Of)

Here, I’ll share with you a radical new outlining method that will help you plot out your entire story in as little as 2 hours.

It incorporates a simple technique Stanford researchers have concluded can make you 60% more creative (on average).

Plus, I’ll show you five simple ways to make this outlining method even more effective. (Number four is pretty intriguing, if I do say so myself.)

Having implemented this radical outlining method, you will have a full list of all the plot points in your story. So, when you sit down to write, you won’t have to think about what happens next.

You’ll know.

You can finish your rough draft without freaking out.

Can you hear that?

It’s the sound of you hammering out words on your keyboard, like you’re Thor.

Nice.

Buy now for $4.99 | Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Take It Easy—Step by Step

Writing a screenplay or novel is a daunting task. However, it becomes far more manageable if it’s broken down into smaller action steps.

This writing guide does that. Where appropriate, each chapter ends with simple action steps that, together, form a practical, systematic way to map out your story.

Here’s a sampling of what you will accomplish by following these steps:

  • your protagonist’s goal will have the attributes necessary to prevent audience attention from drifting away
  • you’ll make your story idea more ironic, and hence, more commercial
  • using a simple template, you’ll produce a one-sentence summary of your story (which will help you write and market it)
  • you’ll crack the middle of your story (including the midpoint and the end of Act Two), so that writing it will be less of a stress-fest
  • you’ll take measures to prevent your screenplay or novel from wimping out during the climax
  • you will have a list of all the plot points in your story, ultimately enabling you to write a better story, faster (no fancy software required)

Get fired up to write!

Story Outlines (book cover)

Learn how to outline your story effectively, boost your confidence, reduce your revision time, and say good-bye to panic! Download Sizzling Story Outlines today!

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