Tuesday, 8 December 2015

30 Questions for Your Outline


Congratulations to all the NaNoWriMo winners!


You wrote a book! Awesome, good on ya'.

Now that the celebration has cooled off it's time for REVISIONS! Hey, don't give me that face, you know I'm right.

Before you launch your best seller at friends and family for glorious feedback, give it this test to see if it's ready.

This is a handy little tool I first saw on Pinterest a few years ago for outlining—I've modified the questions a bit to match my revision style. It helps me get to the meat of the story and showcases the stuff I need to polish, and the stuff I need to weed out completely. Plus, it keeps me motivated and saves loads of time because I lose focus easily ... oh! something shiny!

30 Questions for Your Outline

1: What does your character want?

What do they want most?
A heart, a way home, a brain, courage.


2: Why can't they have it?

3: Can you suck other characters into the main character’s problems, thereby broadening the conflict?
 
4: What is the hook for the readers on page one?

5: What is keeping your character from getting what she wants?

6: What character flaws are stopping your main character from getting what she wants?

7: Who is her greatest ally?

8: Who is her enemy?

9: What external forces are stopping your main character from getting what she wants?

10: How does the main character try to fix her problems? What is the consequence? 

11: How does she try to fix it the next time?

12: What is the mood of your story? Keep it consistent.

13: Is your setting recognizable? Make it unique to the story, as seen through your MC's eyes.

14: Do you have ongoing mysteries/questions that will keep your reader guessing?

15: What are the surprises and twists in your story?


16: Is the subplot developing at the same rate as the main plot?

17: Do each of your characters have a role to play? Are they unique? What if they weren't in the story?

18: What makes each character special/significant to your main character?

19: What are your characters’ secrets?

20: Have you created a sympathetic main character? How?

21: Is your story building up to something big? Can you make it bigger? 

22: Who/what is your antagonist?

23: How do they challenge your main character?

24: How can you make your main character’s voice unique?

25: What tools does your main character have to gain in order to win in the end? What do they have to overcome? How?

26: Do you have a ticking time bomb? If so, what is it? How does it escalate the tension?





27: What are your characters’ back stories?

28:  What mistakes does your main character make? And what does she learn from them? 

29: What is your story's theme?

30: Does your ending reflect the tension in the beginning, ie: what has your character has learned since that moment?

What are some of your tools for tackling revisions?


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