Workshop > Regimented
Oct 20


If the free-wheeling style of outline didn't work out for you, it might be because you need a little more structure to your prewriting style. These prewriting types have a bit more scaffolding to work off of. In general, they have you start off with a certain idea, and fill in the gaps as you go along. These might be helpful if you're stuck at a certain part of your idea, or if you have a complex idea that you're afraid of losing track of.

This method involves dividing your story up into smaller parts, and creating mini-summaries for each part. This is great for longer stories, especially if you already have a good idea of where your story goes.

This method is ideal for getting all of your thoughts down, when an idea starts coming and you are worried that you’ll forget it.

There are many variations on this method--some people find that writing each chapter on a different page, or a new index card helps them stay organized; some writers find it beneficial to organize their mini-summaries with more structure, while others do not.


This type of outline can be either highly organized and systematic, or messy and free-form. The general idea is to start small, and expand out. This is great for when you come up with a specific idea for a story--a conflict, perhaps--and you want to explore the idea more. For some, this method is an active brain-storming exercise, in which the author is organizing and creating ideas at the same time.

The great part about this method is that in its more detailed format, it forces the writer to consider many different parts of the story.

The process generally starts with a one sentence summary of the story. Next, a full paragraph summary, and summaries for each character. (Each character should have a motivation or need of some kind; be faced with a conflict)

From here, continue to expand. Take a look at your one-paragraph synopsis. Does it need to be altered? Expand that summary so that each sentence is a paragraph. Eventually you will be expanding to individual scenes, and you’ll be ready to write a full draft!

Pick either of these strategies (or both!) and flesh out your idea a bit. Post what you come up with (either in a blog post, or as an image) as a response to this XP.