O'Reilly logo

The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Map Your Novel with a Reverse Outline

Planning with the End in Mind

N.M. Kelby

We can all benefit from a sense of organization. I like to think of a novel outline as the bones of a story. As a child, your bones grow to the place where they’ll support who you are meant to be on this planet. If your genes determine that you’re tall, your bones will form that foundation, and your flesh will grow accordingly. As you grow older, you need calcium, and bones provide it to the point where they become brittle and can easily break.

This is the same with outlines. You need to create the basic framework for your story to grow on, but not so much that it takes away the energy from the work.

So where do you begin? Arthur Miller once said, ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required