Questions, Rants/ Advice, Update

The Outline Process

Hello, Everyone!

This is a long post, buckle up and enjoy the ride 🙂 If you are new here, welcome. On Wednesday’s I talk about my WIP (work in progress) and writerly things I have found useful. Moving forward from last week,  the book I forgot about is Write On!: Your Easy-to-Follow Guide for Writing Essays and Term Papers by Dan Mulvey. The reason I couldn’t find it or remember it is because I handed it to Hubbin to read. So, I have yet to read it, but will update you next week.

This week’s writerly resource is  Lady Writer (aka Eva Deverell). Her website is full of writerly goodies and is the reason for my change in the way I outline. I HIGHLY recommend subscribing to her. I did last April. I am happy to report that I get… one to two emails a month from her, I think. Regardless, my point is that I am not spammed email from her, and I love it.

It has been a very long time (February of last year, this post and this one) since I have discussed my outlining process. Back then I used note cards to organize my layout and chapters. However, I found myself feeling like the process was too daunting and then I would avoid or skip it all together. These last couple of months I have been hunting for a new way to outline. While looking through the blog Lady Writer I found a post that helped. I want to back up and say, on her site she has several printables and blog posts to help you in your writer journey. Among all of her helpful links the one I went to is How to use Plot Formula. The link took me to a blog post where she talks about outlining, why it is useful, and other tips. Among the vast, and helpful, information I found a link to a PDF which had many different ways to plot your novel. One was Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method. I had read the source in the past, however, if I remember correctly, it didn’t really resonate with me. Lady Writer took time to break it down into an easy to understand information.

If you have never heard of this method, no worries, I will explain and link you to the worksheet I made. However, before I get to my use of this formula, I would like to mention that I strongly suggest checking out all Lady Writer (aka Eva Deverell) has to offer. By subscribing you get access to even more printables. Now, onto my take on Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method.

Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method

So the premise of this method is to start small and gradually build the idea into something bigger. The down side to this process is that it doesn’t give you when to add the ups and downs in your outline. However, I have sort of worked my way around that.

It is my understanding that you can use the “SAVE AS” function to save the sheets I am linking. 

First: I brainstorm.



I use this sheet to do exactly as titled. I write down any ideas I have about the story. Or I use the method mentioned in Writing From Start to Finish: a six step guide by Kate Grenville. This book uses a series of mind maps and cards to get your ideas flowing and eventually organized. I found it very helpful with my WIP (work in progress).


Second: I spend time filling out this. I know it is long, but don’t stress, take it slow. By the end of this process you will have the rough draft of your novel done.

Randy's Snowflake Method

I am still fiddling with how much I do in one day, but Randy does tell you roughly how long each portion should take. I am following that and allowing for more or less time if needed. Here is a quick run down.

  1. Write a sentence synopsis of your story (keep it to 15 words or less) – about an hour (I took 20 minutes)
  2. Turn that sentence into a paragraph summary (at least 5 sentences) – about an hour (I took 40 minutes)
  3. Create a one page summary of each character- about an hour ( I took 2, also, I changed what summary I do for the characters, I’ll explain later)
  4. Take each sentence from #2 and turn them into full paragraphs- several hours (I took 5-6)
  5. One page description of major Characters and Half page description of Minor characters- couple days (It felt like I was taking a step backwards with my characters on this day. The more detailed page was #3 but now I use it as #5. It didn’t make sense to have a detailed page about your characters and their role only to later have more of a brainstorm session about them. Maybe I am understanding Lady Writer and Randy wrong, but I am happy with what I do.)
  6. Turn the paragraphs from #4 into multiple paragraphs- a week (it took me 5 days, when working solely on it for 3 hours a day)
  7. Take the information in #3 and #5 and create character charts- one week (this is where I veer off in my own direction. I will explain how later.)
  8. Use #4 to create scene spread sheets (I sort of do this)
  9. Use the scene spread sheets to create multiple paragraph, detailed scenes. (I sort of do this)
  10. Use all of the details you have gathered and create your first draft. (I changed this to fit me)


Taking my Own Direction

Okay, so where I veer off is best explained by saying, I use worksheets, most of which are from Lady Writer’s blog. I think some of them are only accessible if you are subscribed to her. Because of this, I will link the page that lists everything I use, and tell you the titles of the links I use. If you sign up then your should– knock on wood– be able to download and print them. The parenthesis at the end correspond with the Snowflake Method number I use it with.

Note: Most of her printables are free to download, however, there are a few that are not. I have only used the free ones. 

My List:

Located in the PLOTTING HELP section (all #8):

  • Mini Quest
  • Try/ Fail Cycle
  • Increasing Conflict
  • Creating Suspense

Located under WRITING HELP section:

  • Opening Scenes (#8)
  • Creating Metaphors and Similes (#10)
  • Scene Writing (#8)
  • Dialogue Help (#10)

Located under CHARACTER HELP section (all #7):

  • Quick Character Creator
  • Character Quirks
  • Killing Characters
  • Love Your Antagonist
  • Partners in Love

Located under WORLD BUILDING HELP section ( I use this whole section, usually between # 8 and #9) :

  • City Building
  • Technology Worksheet
  • Creating Magic Systems
  • Politics
  • Rites and Rituals
  • World History
  • World Geography
  • Setting (I actually use this for #8)

I saved this link, but can’t seem to find it on the page I originally linked. I use it for #8.

I strongly encourage you to look through the other links on that page and to sign up so you can access the Coterie. It has a link so you can print off or save all of the worksheets she has made.

There are a few other sheets I found on Pintrest that I used to use. Now I prefer this one for my character chart.

I know this was a lot of information, so next week I will post a writing prompt in which I use this system.

One last thing before I end, this week I started posting on Instagram again! I have been taking time planning posts and prepping many of them. Working ahead seems to be the key for me. Anyway, follow me on Instagram to get more content!

That is all for today.

Be free and keep reading!

Ta, ta.


I love hearing from my readers. Leave a comment below and let me know if you have read this book and what you thought about it.

Please note that I must approve of comments before others can see it.



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