Monday, January 22, 2007

Outlining Ten

Ten Things to Help With Outlines

Freeware caution: always scan free downloads of anything for bugs and other threats before dumping the programs into your hard drive.

1. Fill in the blanks with's Blank Novel Outline.

2. Rob Parnell uses the 1-10 method of outlining in his article Building Novel Templates.

3. The folks who created Compendium concept mapping freeware just released v. 1.5.1 in beta.

4. Organize Your Novel by S.L. Bartlett had a neat suggestion about creating a "Wall of Rogues" to help the writer visualize characters.

5. Need to outline during your lunch hour? Read Alicia Rasley's article, Outline Your Novel in Thirty Minutes.

6. Yours Truly's Single Novel Plotting Template.

7. Scene by Scene: A .pdf version of's The Step Outline: Getting to the Barebones of Your Idea can be downloaded here.

8. Topicscape mind mapping software offers a free trial version download, as does MindApp and, for Mac users, Tinderbox.

9. For the Linux users out there, try the digital notebook capabilities of Alexander Theel's TuxCards freeware.

10. But it's not mandatory: check out Crawford Kilian's post Writing Without an Outline.

Finally, folks keep e-mailing and asking me for this link: World Check, my post and outline on how much worldbuilding I do for a novel.


  1. I just found another nice piece of freeware that looks like it might be useful for folks who like an index card system for outlining. It's called Text Block Writer.

    You can find it here:

  2. Anonymous11:31 AM

    I'm a fan of free mind mindmapping software.

    -michael snell

  3. Anonymous5:46 PM

    You must be psychic... This morning I was thinking about plotting, and I find the information in you blog ^_^

  4. Thanks for the links and especially the link on World Check. Worldbuilding is something I have problems with so appreacite all the help I can get on it.

  5. Anonymous10:05 PM

    Mindola Super Notecard is AWESOME and free. It's simple enough that you can make it work any way you want, but sleek and clean-looking. Musn't clutter the mind!

    Thanks for the links!

  6. Thanks for the link to the Rasley article. It reinforced some of what I had already written and then was able to give me a clearer picture of where the story may go.

  7. Anonymous12:41 AM

    For outlining, I just list out one sentence lines per scene and then list then, numbered, in the order I want them to.


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