How to Write Your Novel the Easy Way: Classic Outline There is no foolproof way to write a novel easily. You have to be a skilled and determined writer, and have years of practice. The common notion is that writing a book is easy and anyone can do if they had the time and opportunity. But if that was the case, then millions of people would have finished volumes of novels already. There is a something that you can use that will make the process more organized and stress-free, and that is outlining.
There are many different ways to outline a story. From the beginning of time, a story consisted of the basics—a beginning, middle, and end. These are the fundamental things that a person would need to tell a story.
For example: Jenny needed ingredients to cook for a dinner party (beginning); she went to the store and on the way back got a flat tire (Middle); Jenny’s friend comes to change the tire, and then they have a dinner party as planned at Jenny’s house (End).
In this part of the How to Write Your Novel the Easy Way series, we will go over the Classic Outline. It comes from the archetypal Ancient Greek dramas that features three acts—beginning (Regular life, then an incident happens that changes everything), middle (New situation and new problems), and end (Drama, climax, resolution). For some this is an easy way to outline your story, for me it is a little frustrating. I typically use the Story Arch Outline, but we will cover that in another part of the series.
Classic Outline Beat Sheet Act. I 1. Opening conflict (Start exciting) 2. Protagonist shown in daily life, before the transformation. (Regular life) 3. Opportunity for change. (Incident) 4. Resistance to the opportunity. (Sometimes for good reason) 5. Point of No Return –Opportunity Accepted. (No going back to regular life) Act. II 6. Entering the New Situation. (Ex. Dorothy walking into Oz.) 7. Meeting friends, enemies, romance; Transformative Experiences. (Opportunities for change) 8. Problem brings them together. (Fun meaty scenes.) 9. Problem drives them apart. 10. Crisis Hits! Act. III 11. Terrible Secret Revealed or Attack Starts. (Drama) 12. All Seems Lost. 13. Self-sacrifice or Symbolic Death. (Might be a real death) 14. Final Showdown. 15. Conclusion—Wed or Dead. (Big event. Ride off into the sunset.)
As Tara explains, a good number of chapters in a full-length novel are 30. You can write two chapters per beat number. Each chapter usually has around 3,000 words times 30 chapters, which would equal 90,000 words—a good number of words, which can be edited down or scaled up if needed. Genius! For a more linear thinker this is perfect. This outline will give you a full story with fewer chances of holes in your novel. You can easily set a goal of doing one beat or two chapters per week and knock it out a little bit at a time. This is perfect for the busy writer. Does the Classic Outline work for you?Are there any changes to this outline that would work better for you? Please remember to comment, subscribe and follow me!