Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Here’s an outline strategy that works for me…

It’s finally Saturday and what does that mean, well, for me that means that I’ll be writing and working on the outline for my next release. Outline? You mean you don’t do outlines for your books? Well, let me enlighten you to how I outline my books to make writing them a little more streamlined.

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Ok, let’s get a little into why I outline over winging it. To start building a house you have to lay out the plan, build the foundation, then the walls, and so on. Get the picture. It’s the same with writing a book, or so it is with me. I need to set up the groundwork first. That’s why I have a notebook for each series that lays out the details so I don’t have to go back and forth trying to remember if Ridge has blue eyes or if Sara is an author. But back to the outlining. Here goes:

1: Start with a blank paper. Don’t give yourself any distractions. Then get lost in the story that is unfolding in your mind. And remember, the outline doesn’t have to be perfect because you’re the only one that will see. So just write.

2: I separate my outline by chapters. But you can just do it like a book report, down the line, separating by paragraphs. It’s up to you. This is your outline, nobody elses!

3: At this point you should try to remember a couple of things. Even though you’re just putting down the bones of your work, you need to also remember that those bones have to hold up the story, so make sure that you have a start, middle, and end to each chapter or section of the book. Start your first plot, then build on it, bringing the reader to a moment of what’s going to happen. Then your main character hits a roadblock, something that keeps them from solving their problem or mystery. You’ll lead your reader on an adventure where they are left wondering if the problem will get solved.

4: At this point, you’ll be at the midpoint, or close. Make sure that you’re at the top of a hill with a looming cliff that the reader feels like they’re about fall off of, then toss them a rope. Give them hope for their hero or heroine. But as a writer, you’ll want to have a cut in that rope so that the story stays interesting up until you rescue your character and have a happy ending, or lead up to the next book if it’s a series.

5: Yep, I know. How the heck do you do all of this and not go crazy? Well, for me, I have to think of it like building that house we talked about earlier. If your bones aren’t strong enough, your house or story in this case, will crumble. And the point to all of this is to make sure your story holds up in the storm and by storm, I mean readers!

Part 2 of this post will be the structure. So, stay tuned for the next post and don’t forget, even if you don’t outline, make sure it has a rise and fall or your reader will give up before they ever find out the fate of the main character.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

And since I’m all about pirates this week, don’t forget to check out Captain Tanner in Safe in the Pirate’s Arms!

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Outlining the story easier…

Good Tuesday morning! With tax season in full swing and a couple of manuscripts on deadline, I’ve been a little behind on my posts. But I found something that has helped me a lot.

So, as most of you know, I use Scrivener to get my manuscript typed up and ready to go. But, I had never taken the time to look into the outline part of the program. I’ve always typed my outline in Word or wrote it longhand, which was alright, but I had to keep it beside me, sometimes losing my place while going back and forth.

But now that I’ve taken the time to figure it out, I don’t know how I worked without it. In the program, you can have the outline points for each chapter on the same page that you’re typing on. It’s amazing. And you can also scroll the outline points back or forward while working, which helps you to keep on focus. This concept has made a huge difference in my writing.

If you haven’t started using Scrivener for your writing, then I suggest you give it a try. It’s great and keeps you on track. Not to mention your character bios are always at your fingertips and places. But now with the outline set up, wow!

As always good writing and May God Bless You…