How to Outline Your Novel Using Index Cards



hello everyone welcome back to my channel I'm so glad you're here if you're new hello my name is Monty and I am a writer and author of three books two fiction and one nonfiction which I just released last week on Tuesday so I'm really excited about that you guys so if you want to check it out I'm going to leave the link below because it's all about motivational and inspiration which is what my channel is all about this channel is about giving advice for writers and giving life tips to get you to reach your goal so with that said let's get right onto the video so this week what I have in store for you is all about outlining with index cards you guys I haven't never done this before in fact as you know writers are known for two things what either plotters or Panthers and I have definitely been a pantser I did not outline any of my novels and I just can't believe but I did that because now seeing how good this works and how easy your novel can come into full view by outlining I will never not do it like this again so this is what I wanted to tell you I first started out by doing a little research on the web because I wanted to find out what different kinds of outlines they are and there are different forms like bullet form bullet time span you know kind of the types that you learn in school but I just wanted to see what else there was and I came across this wonderful resource by however her name but it was helping the website is helping writers become authors con of course I will leave the link below for you guys because it's a wonderful resource and what she did is she she has a bunch of different resources about writing and this particular one the one that I was interested in it was all about breaking the story structure per act and that was so easy for me when I started looking at the story breaking it down by app and figuring out what goes in each act it was it was just like wow mind-blowing so that's what I want to share with you today so the very first thing I did is I printed out her her paper her blog about if I did this I I inserted the first second and third acts because I wanted to see it clearly so I broke I printed the paper out and then I went ahead and looked at what is what belongs in each act for example the opening act is the the hook next is the inciting incident then is the key event and then the first plot point and each of these things have a little definition has a little definition next to it to let you know okay what is the hook what belongs on the hook well the hook is the opening moment that grabs the readers curiosity so knowing that what I did is I grabbed my flash cards right and then I wrote first act and then I did I need the first act and then I wrote the in the hook which is somewhere around here thank you afraid it no oh it's already no one because I might have missed it but it's okay because I'm so working on it you guys okay so so I wrote the hook right and with my definition here I know exactly what the hope needs to be so another thing I want to point out is that I use both write cards and colored cards because for the colored cards I will use it for things like this for example that markers each marker that for the hook the inciting incident the event and the first plot point so that when I have my cards like this I can easily turn to it and see where it's at so then okay so I wrote the hook and I put it down and then I wrote the next thing on her which was the inciting incident right so then I wrote inciting incident as you can see here and then the next thing was the key event and then the follow it what follows that it's the first plot point so when I had it all those four things laid out what I then started doing is after the hook and before the incident what are my scenes what goes between these two points right here and then in white and white I started adding my themes I started putting my things and my thoughts and my ideas all I could go here and I know what could I know what needs to happen because I already know why my inciting incident is gonna be I already know what it is so I need to make a bunch of things happen between this and between this and this so that worked out great so then I did that you guys for every single act and every single marking point so just like she has the second act or another point I wanna make out this actually works out perfect because it's this it's 25 percent of your novel so by the time you finished Act one this is 25 percent of you know of your novel so I knew exactly what to do what I was gonna do with the first part of my novel then the next part of your novel is Act two and then it's got the same thing here the first half of the second act the first pinch point the midpoint the second half of the second act the second pinpoint pinch point but leading up to the third plot point which is about this is like 25 to 75 percent of your novel is that that second act and then the rest of it is your third act which is your your third act the climax the climatic moment and the resolution so again I did the same thing so I laid all the cards out from beginning to end and then I started inserting all my scenes in between and you guys I am so I'm still working on it obviously I don't have the whole story planned out I have my pretty story of my characters I know exactly who they are how they got there but it's where the story is going further the scenes in between you know the middle part that we as writers always find that as the most difficult part of writing but yeah you guys I loved it I thought it was a great idea another point I used for example I used yellow cards to pinpoint like flashbacks and you can use your yellow your color cards for anything that you want for I mean I don't know like if if it's a particular power that they're using if you're writing like I am a fantasy novel and you want to pinpoint a particular big event like any time they're using a power then you can use whatever card color you want I heard somebody else she did it a little bit differently but I heard somebody uses she was a little more detail and she does pink for when the girl character speaking and blue for when the male characters speaking nothing that's a Wonder Woman that works great but I was using it more for onset of the characters I was using it more for the the actual scenes another point I wanted to make is that within your cards you can also like what with my hook I did opening scene who's in it what are my characters what is the scene look like isn't if they outdoors or indoors what do you know that you can be as detailed as you want and then move on to your next scene and your next scene and you next thing before you know it you have your whole novel plotted out so this brings me to my motivational tip I see guys know but before I get there let me just say that you're probably wondering why the heck am I wearing a hat because my hair is wet just got out of the shower I didn't have time for it to dry so I was like I don't care I'm sorting that because it looks okay here but you don't want to know what's going on up here stop my motivation tip you guys this opened up my eyes because I've been so rigid in my writing as far as I'm not a rigid person but I do get stuck in my ways sometimes you know like and like I will only eat a certain thing and I will especially with food I am rigid with Selita but I'm just given that as an example I get rigid about certain things and I'm afraid of trying other things but sometimes trying new things is hard and change is sometimes hard but often necessary you guys because doing this has opened up my eyes and seeing how easy and how how much my novel is gonna benefit from this so when you in anything in life if you find that you're a little rigid and a little unwilling to change even though you know you're struggling I suggest I recommend that you open up your mind to possibly changing possibly trying something new because you never know where it's gonna lead you you never know what kind of eye-opening experience you're gonna get from that from your willingness to move forward and change and not be so rigid okay guys well I hope you found this content helpful I hope you come back I'm in my blog this week I am going to be taking some pictures and I'm going to go also a little more detail in the same way that I just did here I'm going to break it out a little more take some pictures and show you exactly what it looks I laid out so if you want I would love for you just going over there and check it out I'm going to link it below as always and that's all you guys until next time stay safe bye

7 thoughts on “How to Outline Your Novel Using Index Cards

  1. I outline in a similar way, just I do not use the act method, I write down the scenes as they come in my head on index cards and put them in order before starting to write 🙂 Have a blessed day!

  2. Although I don't write fiction, the idea of breaking the story down is interesting. Have you ever read the recaps of soap operas? They do a similar thing. Google a soap opera by name and recaps. Another subtlety I've noticed is that one soap might have different scenes but each scene has something in common. For instance, all the scenes for one day might be about people resolving their differences. Another day people confronting someone. Although, the characters are different in each scene, the scenes are similar in intent.

    Love the cap. Where did you get it? Did you design it?

  3. Hi I was wondering if you had any tips for how to come up with scenes in between events e.g in between the hook and incidenting incident if you carnt think of anything

  4. I've been on K.M. Weiland site all morning and I can't find the 3 acts definitions??  Can you head me in the right direction??  Thanks.  Loved you video, gave you a thumbs up and subscribes!  Great job!

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