Wednesday, September 19, 2012

“Building Your Story”

Part 1 – Using an Outline

Now that we have chosen a genre and found our inspiration, it is time to build the story. Today, I’m beginning a series on building a firm storyline. Be sure to check in each day as I bring up new topics on this subject.


There are so many different ways to design and construct a storyline. No one way is considered the ‘right’ way. Instead, a writer needs to find the tool that works for him/her. And there are many. Today we will start with the first—

Do you need organization? Then you will find it easier to construct your storyline by using an outline. With an outline, it is easy to keep track of where you left off or remembering small details that could otherwise slip your mind.

Here’s an example what my outlines look like:


1.    Alyssa’s introduction

A.   Waiting tables at the local café

B.   Alyssa’s appearance details

C.   Counting tips and leaving for the night

D.   Alyssa’s home details and way of living


2.    Jonathan’s Introduction

A.   Pitching for the baseball game

B.   Winning another game

C.   The celebration

D.   Coming Home


I use each new number point as a new chapter. Each letter point is a new page break. If I want to further the detail, so I do not forget an important event, I add further points using a., b., c….etc.

Take your time on the outline, and if need be, you can always go back and change it. Building strong characters, backgrounds, and plot should not have a time limit. Play with it, work it out in your mind. Where do you want your story to start? Where do you want it to end? What course will your characters take to get to their end goal? And also, what is the message you want to portray?

Don’t settle for anything less than what you consider perfect.  


  1. Rachel, Nice job on your blog. Enjoyed the reading! JR

  2. Thank you, JR! Later, in the next few weeks, I'll be posting more that actually has to do with World War II.