Build Your Skeleton

Build Your Skeleton

A Lesson by Tracie D'Angelo

You have your idea. You've done your brainstorming. Now let's write an outline!


     Hopefully, you spent some time writing up a guideline page for your book. Our next step in the writing process is to make a skeleton or outline of the chapters. Look at the brief rough draft that you just wrote and mark where you think there are natural pauses, major transitions or breaks in the story line. These will be your chapters. When you're marking out the chapters remember you're marking ideas and not words. You may mark one sentence for Chapter 3, but that's okay because you'll expand on that idea in the outline.

     Now start to write your outline. Each topic will be a chapter. Under each topic/chapter write what will be in that chapter in outline form. You can add a few details if you need a reminder, but try to keep it short and to the point. Remember that you'll need to write a good bit for each chapter so give yourself enough material to work with so you can relate your thoughts effectively without getting too drawn out and dull. Feel free to name your chapters but, it's not necessary. Take your time with the outline. It will be your reference point throughout your writing. Like your guideline, your outline can be altered, but keep it to a minimum. There will be moments while working when the story will take an unexpected turn or slightly swerve from the outline. Don't forget to annotate the changes on your outline to keep it in sync with your project. 

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Added on February 2, 2010
Last Updated on February 2, 2010

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Tracie D'Angelo
Tracie D'Angelo

Annapolis, MD

I'm a 45 year old mom of 2 teens in Maryland (US). I work as an asst. librarian at our local elementary school. I also review books and write the blog for a local book store. I've just revamped my own..