how to do a basic outline
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**UPDATE: I will be blogging about how to outline on Wednesday instead of Monday, due to the Markus Zusak book signing post.**
Yes, I finally did it.
I got my critique group to outline. For those of you who aren’t familiar with my critique group, it includes Shallee McArthur, Karen Krueger, Joel Smith, Kevin Smith, Rachel Giddings and me! And I want to add here that I don’t know what I’d do without them!
And while each of us has our strengths, each of us also has our weaknesses. And an interesting thing was that some of us outline and some don’t.
Let me mention now that I am a firm believer in outlining.
Wait, DON’T throw tomatoes yet! Let me clarify that. I’m a firm planner BEFORE I writer a book, though I know everyone has a different process. As creative peeps, I think we all need to go about our writing our own way. But I think once you have your novel out, everyone (and I do mean that) should sit down and outline their book. This can be done in a short synopsis or a detailed sketch. But that way you as the author can see where you book went . . . and you’ll be surprised what you learned!
So I sat my group down and had them all write out their plots in detail.
So what I had them do is similar to what J.K. Rowling did here:
 Write down all big storylines and issues
 Write down what happens in each chapter for each of those things. Sometimes it doesn’t come out in the chapter, but if it happens, put it down.
 Look over where there are big empty spots, and you can see where a storyline has faded away.
The most amazing thing is that, while it stumped some people, it helped everyone. Even those people who had already outlined their book already saw things that needed to be fixed because of the outline.
So what’s your process? How have you seen outlining helping you?