Into Google I went, and the second result to “fiction outline template” was this super linky post by Jennifer Mattern, which I post here for your use.
Okay, I admit it. It’s really for me. If you want to come along, you can too. You know you want to try it. All the cool kids are doing it. Except Stephen King. But he’s not a cool kid. He’s the dorky guy with all the money living in Maine with J.B. Fletcher from Murder She Wrote. I wonder if they know each other?
I see on the site that Jennifer got an award for “101 best Websites for Writers” from Writer’s Digest. So that’s not a totally made-up award. She’s got it from 2011 to 2015, so they sort of stack up the little yellow discs and it’s cool. I suppose if I was important, I’d know who Writer’s Digest is. Nevertheless, it sounds toity and important and stuff. And she looks serious. Look at her. Serious writer. I need serious. So do you.
There’s a link to “First Draft in 30 Days” which is like the gym for writers. Get in there! Lift those adverbs! What sort of weak outline is that? Go back and redraft! You think you’re going to outline in EXCEL?! I’d have to buy the book to get in shape, though. I’ll consider it.
Back to Jennifer’s site:
I clicked on “No Plot? No Problem. — by Chris Baty” and as you can see, it says:
Page not found
Ouch. I’m wondering about the metaphysical message of No plot? No problem. Page not found.
Oh, look! The link for Fiction Book Outline Template — from Adelphosbooks.biz is a free goody, a form! I love forms. Outline Worksheets, free for life. There’s a lot of forms… Hmmm. Do I have to answer all of this stuff? There’s a lot of boxes. A lot. Go look. You’ll see. If only it were a fillable PDF so I could type everything instead of using, blech, pencil!
Not sure that’s for me, but… here’s something! Index cards!!! (squeal!)
Okay, I’m kidding about the squeal part. I don’t like them all that much. Maybe I can learn to love them, like Dr. Strangelove and the H-Bomb.
Karen Woodward uses index cards. I’m down with that. That’s a professional trick of the trade for screenwriters. You use freaking index cards. Says she uses a program that simulates the index cards, which is also cool. I dunno if that’s me. Can I just use excel with a lot of open workbooks? This looks extremely organized, down to the “did your villain remember to pack his toothbrush and floss?” kind of level. I’ll look at it in more detail.
Inevitably, I’m back to Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method. I think it works, though the story I composed using that method didn’t turn out to be the story I wrote. It kept changing. I think I knew it wasn’t working when I was doing the outline, though it substantially changed the initial thing I worked on – 20 thousand words of something that could be potentially salvaged in the future to make it work.
I’ll give Randy’s method a go, again, and it’s back to motivation/reaction units, and scene/sequel. Does ANYONE actually write this way? Besides Randy?