Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success” as Want to Read:
Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success

(Helping Writers Become Authors #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  4,111 ratings  ·  582 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Outlining Your Novel, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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 abou…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

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,111 ratings  ·  582 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
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
Kellyn Roth
Originally posted on the January 2017 Mini Review post

Whoa! That was fantastic!

Okay, so, I have written (to completion: I've started maybe fifty other books) three full-length books now. The first two had to be intensively rewritten. In fact, very little of the original drafts remain. Why was this? Well, after assuming myself to be a "pantser" (because I was too lazy to outline), I refused to outline ...

And that got me nowhere.

I decided to try some extensive outlining with my third book (current
Ashlee Willis
Jan 06, 2014 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, outlini ...more
Julie Christine
The thing is, I pantsed my first novel entirely. I survived, the novel sold, it's doing well, I'm proud of the whole endeavor. But I would never (never say never) write a novel that way again.

Yet, I can't quite get my head around stitching together an outline in which each scene is planned, the beginning, middle, end a fixed thing, predetermined by process. I know now that each book is its own creature, that the narrative itself determines the process, more than the writer. I will always be a r
Dannii Elle
A solid guide, combining facets from every area pertinent to figure out before you pen a single word of draft one.
Jun 12, 2012 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
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-in-2020
Who knew? When you write a novel without an outline, it's called "pantsing." I'd love to see the etymology of this term, but for now I can admit that the first (unpublished) novel I wrote some 25 years ago was "pantsed."

The editor who was gracious enough to write a personalized letter by way of rejection said a lot of good things about that novel, but her chief concern was the plot. You know. It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing. What do readers love best? Plot.

So this book, against
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
Apr 09, 2016 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
Yolo Yearwood
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 d ...more
T.W. Spencer
Dec 27, 2011 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 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
Bill Tillman
May 04, 2012 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.
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. :)
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
It reminded me of a few lessons I'd learned in the past, it taught me some things that I frankly did not know, and it helped me understand some that I'd only known of in a cursory fashion. I am extremely glad that I picked up this book, and will certainly be looking for more of this author's work. ...more
Jessie Sara
Sep 08, 2012 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 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
May 29, 2012 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
M.G. Edwards
May 10, 2012 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
Jan 03, 2014 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 longhan ...more
Elke Feuer
Feb 11, 2013 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. ...more
Gillian Kevern
I read this in the hopes of getting myself back on track with two story projects that are fairly well developed but not quite there. I think it will be useful, but I think that most of the questions are more useful for someone at the very beginning of a project.
N.N. Light
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must-read and own for all writers. It opened my eyes to outlining and made me a better writer.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this at the suggestion of a work colleague and I think it will be helpful. At least I hope it will be. I should start by saying that I think this book is slightly more helpful to those who write mystery, science fiction or fantasy (genres that require great attention to detail and in advance planning) but there are definitely parts that are applicable to any wannabe writer.

I love writing descriptive passages that focus on specific settings. I can write pages upon pages about a marsh or bi
Vineeta Vineeta
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
There's nothing new in here but this book definitely turned me into a plotter, though I found only one useful advise in here for it. The thing is, I'm usually slowed down by minor details or my prose&dialogue, and I often go through writer's block when I don't know where to go; my first one or two drafts always go to waste; I also detest formal outlines.

The best advise I found in this book was to go for a judgement free road map in which you briefly describe what happens in a scene in the kind i
I liked some of what I read, but I had to return it to the library, so I've temporarily stopped. I'm hoping to pick it back up soon. ...more
Jan 21, 2014 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
First read: 3.5. I enjoyed this writing book, but I think that it would be more useful for people delving into outlining for the first time. I've already developed my own elaborate outlining system (probably too elaborate) and I found a lot of the information presented in this book to be kind of basic- at least for me. Still, I found some nuggets of information that will be happily incorporated into my outlining process :) So yay!!!

This book has a companion workbook that you buy separately. You
Sep 20, 2013 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
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, on-writing, 2013
I follow K.M. Weiland's blog and I look forward to every one of her posts. They are always very informative, concise and easy to implement. That is why I immediately purchased this book, and although I was never fond of outlining, I now realize I just didn't know how.
And that is what this book is about - it doesn't just tell you to do this or that, it shows you HOW to do it. There are a lot of useful tips, I downloaded the free software and I browsed many other resources she provides.
This book w
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Save the Cat! Writes a Novel
  • How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method
  • How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript
  • Write Your Novel From the Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between
  • Show, Don't Tell: How to write vivid descriptions, handle backstory, and describe your characters’ emotions (Writers’ Guide Series Book 3)
  • Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere)
  • Take Off Your Pants! Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing
  • The Last Fifty Pages: The Art and Craft of Unforgettable Endings
  • Story Engineering: Character Development, Story Concept, Scene Construction
  • 5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter
  • Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot: How to Write Gripping Stories That Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats
  • Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels (How to Write Kissing Books Book 1)
  • The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression
  • 2,000 to 10,000: How to Write Faster, Write Better, and Write More of What You Love
  • The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws
  • Writing the Breakout Novel
  • The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Psychological Trauma
  • How to Write a Dynamite Scene Using the Snowflake Method (Advanced Fiction Writing Book 2)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso.

She is the IPPY, NIEA, and Lyra Award-winning and internationally published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic.

Her fiction include

Other books in the series

Helping Writers Become Authors (8 books)
  • Outlining Your Novel Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises for Planning Your Best Book
  • Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story
  • Structuring Your Novel Workbook: Hands-On Help for Building Strong and Successful Stories
  • Conquering Writer's Block and Summoning Inspiration: Learn to Nurture a Lifestyle of Creativity
  • 5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel That Stands Out
  • Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author's Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development
  • Creating Character Arcs Workbook: The Writer's Reference to Exceptional Character Development and Creative Writing

News & Interviews

We all want to spend more time lost in the pages of great books. That's the idea behind our annual 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge! It's...
59 likes · 8 comments
“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.” 18 likes
“It’s not enough to create a character who does interesting things. He must also do them for interesting reasons.” 2 likes
More quotes…