“All human happiness and misery take the form of action,” Aristotle wrote.
If you’ve gotten this far, you know I have a thing about not outlining your novel too early. I think an outline before you begin can stifle the process and force you in the wrong direction.
Now, however, three weeks in, is a good time to get a kind of outline down on the page. This is about the shape of your story.
Write this down:
- Your inciting action: the first thing that happens in your book, the even that sets off everything else
- Background: List three events that happened before the action of your novel, three events that explain how your protagonist came to be in this situation
- Development: Take the scenes that you’ve already written, and put them in order an order that makes sense.
- End: Write how you think your novel should end (this can change, but get something down).
- Now: what’s missing? Make a list of scenes that still need to be written to get your protagonist from the inciting action to the end of the book.
That’s quite a bit of work for today, but if you made quick work of it and your writing window hasn’t closed, choose one scene from the “What’s missing?” list and write it.