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Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  2,276 Ratings  ·  343 Reviews
Writers often look upon outlines with fear and trembling. But when properly understood and correctly wielded, the outline is one of the most powerful weapons in a writer’s arsenal. Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success will:

Help you choose the right type of outline for you
Guide you in brainstorming plot ideas
Aid you in discovering your characters
Show you how to st
Paperback, 186 pages
Published 2011 by PenForASword Publishing
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Carolyn McBride This book covers so much more than outlining, I think writers would find it useful even if they write flash fiction. (Which I do) This book talks…moreThis book covers so much more than outlining, I think writers would find it useful even if they write flash fiction. (Which I do) This book talks about realistic and flawed characters, what makes them tick, beginnings, middles, much more than just outlining!(less)

Community Reviews

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Lee Dunning
What K.M. Weiland calls outlining and what I call outlining are vastly different. Outlining is a road map for me to make sure that when I get to the end of my story I don't end up painted into a corner, resorting to sticking a stupid space spider in as my evil monster (yes, I'm referring to "It" by Stephen King). K.M. Weiland seems to view outlining as a complete and utter diagram of every aspect of the story. In reading through her examples, they come across as free form brainstorming sessions. ...more
Jun 28, 2012 Cherie rated it it was amazing
OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS by K.M. Weiland focuses on ways to outline without destroying creativity.

Writers are often divided into two types: plotters and pantsers, but both sides can learn from each other. Outlines don’t have to kill creativity nor take away the thrill of discovering the characters and plot. Through various tools, the writer can learn about their novel in way that doesn’t bore the person. This book also includes interviews with various authors and how they do
Feb 15, 2013 Julian rated it liked it
This book gave me a clue....

"Write what you know," is a common phrase that's thrown around among writers.

"Outlining Your Novel" offers a method to "know." Know the world you are writing about. Know your characters. Know what the world in your head is "about". When you know what you are writing about, the writing goes MUCH easier. There is no getting around it: "knowing" is WORK. Figuring things out like plot, structure, characters ... all that stuff takes some determination and resolve. WORK in
Lilia Ford
Somewhat to my surprise, I found this book very helpful, both for the specific exploration of how experienced authors go about creating outlines and in general for its insights into the creative process. I would especially recommend the book for "pantsers" (like myself) who are looking to be more disciplined and efficient in their fiction writing. My one complaint is with the gushy style, especially the author's enthusiasm for extended metaphors. Typical example:

"After several months of diligen
Ashlee Willis
May 21, 2015 Ashlee Willis rated it it was amazing
I haven't felt that I spent my money on something so worthy of it in quite some time. This book was pretty amazing. Nothing I've read on writing before has made me get so excited about ... well ... writing! These are not just ideas that you have to grab at and hope work. They are solid ideas and principles that can get put into practice. I'm so eager to put these ideas to use in my next novel, and I'm lamenting the fact that I didn't read this book sooner. I've always known that, for me, ...more
Miranda (M.E.) Brumbaugh
Great book for novelists, fiction and non. I'm currently in the revision stages of my fiction novel, but I've been pantsing it for the most part. I've found myself using the comments feature (on Scrivener) as I write each chapter where I list the details like plots, subplots, points of view, characters, settings, etc. I even started yet another notebook with the scenes written out in some semblance of order, but found myself losing focus when adding subplot scenes in with the plot scenes. I've ...more
T.W. Spencer
Dec 27, 2011 T.W. Spencer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
After reading this book, Outlining Your Novel, I am impressed with the author's keen insight on novel construction. Her book has given me great insight into my currant manuscript. I have been a pantser for years, but when I started working on my current project, at the beginning of this year’s National Novel Writing Month, I soon realized that the idea was just too BIG.

I have had this idea playing around the back of my head for going on ten years now. I thought I had a good sense of where I want
Jul 26, 2012 Liberty rated it it was amazing
As a reluctant outliner, I couldn't recommend K.M. Weiland's book more. The techniques she suggests in "Outlining Your Novel" will definitely help me in future projects as I further explore the outlining concept.

Her book is well organized, beginning with many misconceptions about outlines--many of which I used to adhere to until recently--and taking you step-by-step to the start of the actual writing of your novel. Several techniques I'd already begun utilizing prior to reading her book. Many ot
Apr 09, 2016 Meg rated it it was amazing
I'm a K. M. Weiland fan! I can't imagine writing fiction without her.

This book offers some fantastic insights - definitely worth purchasing rather than checking out at the library, just so you can color-code and scribble margin notes. As a writer, I don't follow her outlining method to the letter (I doubt any two writers have identical methods), but her insights have definitely changed my craft forever.

P.S. Weiland's weekly newsletter is my #1 favorite resource as a fiction writer. Do yourself a
Bill Tillman
Apr 27, 2015 Bill Tillman rated it it was amazing
I have listened to this author on You Tube with about 120 2 minute lessons on writing. She is very good and this book proves it. No wasted words, only point after point of clear instruction about creating killer outlines for your work.
Jessie Sara
Mar 28, 2013 Jessie Sara rated it it was amazing

I gave 5 stars for this book. People would notice that I give quite high rating for all the books that I listed here because I only buy books that are relevant to my passion. The books have to go through stringent "selection process". I usually put them on a wishlist first and then after a few weeks I will go back and review my selection before finally finalizing my purchase. So if and when I finally purchased some books, I know I've made the right decisions, that the books will serve my immedia
Judy Croome
Mar 25, 2012 Judy Croome rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: new and experienced authors
Outlining is my weakest point as an author, because outlining (like two people running across a cricket pitch, when only the runs for one will count as a score!) has always struck me as a waste of precious creative time. Weiland’s excellent book has gone a long way to changing my mind.

Well-set out, easy to read and meticulously researched, Weiland’s professional advice is touched with a natural, appropriate humour that makes learning from this text a pleasure.

While Weiland gives solid, practic
Shaun Messick
Jun 20, 2012 Shaun Messick rated it really liked it
I am an author, and I have discovered that when I write I need to devise a plan or a road map for the story to take shape. When I wrote my first novel, Worlds Without End: The Mission (Book 1), I used what the author, K.M. Weiland, termed “pantsing” – writing by the seat of your pants. Even though I was satisfied with the final product of “The Mission” using this method, I had to revise and edit the novel too many times to count. As a result, I wanted to find out how other authors outline their ...more
Jeff Barr
Dec 13, 2013 Jeff Barr rated it it was amazing
Clear, opinionated outline advice from K.M Weiland, author of 'Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story', one of my favorite books on writing.
Outlining Your Novel is a little padded with some gratuitous 'beginner' writing advice at the beginning. Writers who have completed a novel or two may be inclined to skim through these sections; but be aware that Weiland sticks some really solid bits here and there that you may want to take notes on.
The outline plan presente
Elke Feuer
Feb 11, 2013 Elke Feuer rated it it was amazing
Great book! It really helped me flush out my outlining process and made me think about things I hadn't in the outlining stage. I highly recommend this book if you are a beginner finding their way or looking to improve your existing process.
Aleksandr Voinov
Smart little book that I read when I needed to think harder about where my book is going. I'll still remain 70% pantser, but even "thinking ahead" (as I call my plotting) can benefit from reading about/contemplating structure.

Maybe I'll try to outline the next one. :)
د.أمجد الجنباز
إن أردت أن تكتب قصة أو رواية

فهذا الكتاب هو المكان الأفضل لتبدأ منه
Jan 28, 2015 Ow1goddess rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, research
Pros of this book:
- The system is straightforward and should work for any length or type of fiction writing, plus you can use it even if it's something you've already started
- Gives you an idea of an order for producing an outline, though you don't have to follow it. I realized that what I've always thought of as an outline is basically the LAST step of the process. I like the idea that it is a roadmap cut down from the notes.
- Examples that show it in action. At first I was turned off that she
M.G. Edwards
Jul 08, 2012 M.G. Edwards rated it it was amazing
K.M. Weiland’s book is a great read for writers who use outlines to plan novels and need help fine tuning their writing strategy. It’s also for those who are skeptical of the benefits of writing outlines. After reading this book, those who prefer to write by the seat of their pants may find themselves convinced that outlining is a better way to go.

The author makes a strong case for writing outlines and includes interviews with published authors at the end of each chapter that explain why many w
Sep 20, 2013 Paul rated it really liked it
After reading Weiland's exceptional book "Structuring Your Novel", my next stop was to pick up this gem to add to my growing list of novel writing resources. As an admitted "pantser", I'm excited to put the tool of outlining to use in my next work.

Before reading this book I had always thought of outlining as a stuffy, rigid exercise that would lead a writer to little more than getting from point A to point B. Weiland completly blows the misconception of outlining out of the water right from the
Jan 09, 2014 Benjamin rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
What Weiland describes as outlining is drastically different than what I consider it to be. This was a nearly 200 page description of what I would summarize as one writer's brainstorming process, a great part of which was essentially a lightly structured approach to stream of consciousness internal discussion. In order to arrive at the type of concise and ordered outline such as what an editor might request, Weiland has to later reduce notebooks full of self-directed monologue written in ...more
Gus Sanchez
Nov 24, 2012 Gus Sanchez rated it really liked it
Hi, my name is Gus, and I'm a recovering pantser.

*hi, Gus!*

Actually, I still like to pants, but Outlining Your Novel showed me the way out of my darkness. See, pantsing is one thing, but if you actually got your head out of your arrogant ass every once in a while and actually dedicated yourself to plotting what you're about to write, you might avoid all those episodes of hair pulling and teeth gnashing, not to mention Olympic-grade laptop tossing, but only if you're fabulously wealthy and can af
Miranda Wheeler
Jul 04, 2012 Miranda Wheeler rated it it was amazing
I'm going to keep this brief, but this is basically one of my favorite books (ever!) on the topic of writing. It was in a pile of how-tos on writing I got for my sweet sixteen this past June, and it was most definitely my favorite. You'd think something like outlining would be obvious and straightforward, but not only did I learn a thing or two, but those things have become seriously important in the modified process. (I also discovered yWriter, which I now adore.)
I found the book quirky and in
Oct 25, 2011 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm generally sceptuc about books on writing, especially regarding a subjuct such as outlining; there are just too many ways to get it done to have someone telling you how you shouls do it. That's what was so great about this book. The author gives a very detailed look at her outlining methods, to be sure, along with examples of her own work as well as explanations of how and why they work for her. Yet she also ends each chapter with an interview with a different author, where alternate views ...more
Mar 23, 2012 Layla rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be extremely helpful and chock-full of great pointers and ideas for flushing out my novel. She made me aware of little things I hadn't considered, but that would have an impact on the overall story and also showed me how things I had dismissed as inconsequential can actually be important and helpful in moving the story along.

additionally, what I love is that the book is short and sweet, uses comprehensive language and accessible examples and does not complicate matters to t
May 13, 2015 Schuyler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved K.M. Weiland's practical, easy-to-read encouragement on how to plan out a story. It was easy to get through a chapter and then think about it as I worked on things around the house. That way I could keep moving forward with writing goals during a busy stretch! Certainly a refreshing way to keep writing on the front burner.

By far, my biggest takeaway was the fact that outlining at the beginning can save revision at the end. I think this will help me get my thoughts in order so I can spend
Rich Weatherly
Oct 22, 2011 Rich Weatherly rated it it was amazing
There isn't much I can add to the reviews others have already submitted. I agree with them all. Knowing Ms Weiland, I expected a competent product. Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success is that and more. This has been an exciting read and that is what surprised me. I'm not yet finished but at about 2/3rds of the way through, I've already gained a wealth of knowledge and ideas I can apply immediately.

This book is highly motivating and would make an excellent text book on creative writing.
Anna Serra i Vidal
Nov 05, 2013 Anna Serra i Vidal rated it really liked it
Anything that helps me organize my story, will be very welcome.
This one is a short read and very easy to understand that contains chapters with the author explaining her outlining process and some other chapters where different authors talk about their outlining process.
It's interesting and it has helped me think about my story.
Mar 09, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-books
Excellent resource . . . especially if what you remember from high school outlining is sketchy or stifling. Great examples of how to use the outlining process to develop your novel, leading to a faster first draft with fewer or easier revision process.
Nina Perez
Jan 02, 2016 Nina Perez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Immensely helpful

This book helped me find focus and dig deeper into my story. The steps were thorough and easy to follow. I also appreciated the examples provided. Highly recommend.
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K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY and NIEA Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic, the western A Man Called Outlaw, the medieval epic Behold ...more
More about K.M. Weiland...

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“Most authors would be the first to admit the best of their writing is beyond even them. It comes from someplace outside the conscious realm.” 12 likes
“In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” —Dwight D. Eisenhower” 1 likes
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