The more I thought through and planned before I began writing--the easier it was to get into the flow of writing. However, just because I planned or plotted out my story doesn't mean it was set in stone. This beginning outline/synopsis is fluid-- something to help guide the writing process and keep it cohesive.
The main thing to remember is--Don't get stuck here. Start broad and then go small. Start with an overview.
How will my story begin?
What will happen in the middle?
How will my story end?
Then, think about chapters and write a chapter synopsis. In my book, I alternated between the viewpoint of two characters, so my outline looked like this. This is also my unedited thoughts so don't judge😂. . .
Chapter 1: Mercedes
Mercedes Lewis receives an email about a strange cloud and decides to go investigate after she loses her job at the local newstation. On the way there she reflects on her life till now. She had been involved in church but got hurt. She has trouble trusting people and doesn’t really believe God cares about her. She meets some of the locals and decides to stay a couple of nights at the local B and B.
Chapter 2: Grant
Grant Ford is a young pastor and grew up in Shady Lake. and always heard the stories of their towns beginning. Pastor Ford has a meeting with the deacons. They are troubled that Shady Lake’s cloud is shrinking. Is God abandoning their town? Is He angry with them? Some of the founding families think Pastor Ford is to blame. Burdened and confused he begins to organize his desk and finds a secret compartment with a journal from pastor Hart, the founding pastor of Shady Lake. He is interrupted from reading the journal by a church member.
Again, don't get stuck. It's okay not to know every detail. I didn't say how Mercedes was hurt by church in chapter one and I didn't say who interrupted Grant in chapter two. New ideas will emerge and change form once you begin writing. This simply gives you an idea of where you are going.
If you noticed the words in red Do Not Skip This, that was more for me, than for you. To be honest, I just wanted to write my story. I did not want to stop and make an outline. I'm so glad I forced myself to do it though. I referenced it so many times. It truly became an invaluable resource. Now I am going through the whole process again for my next novel!
Some writers identify themselves as pantsers--they don't plan, some identify as plotters. My mom brain needs plotting and organization. I wrote in a character one day and the next day had no idea who he was!
If you want more help planning and thinking through your book, I would suggest My Book Blueprint I actually went through this program and it covers so much!
Whether you are planning on publishing indie or traditional, this is a fantastic tool. If you are looking for more of a hybrid type publisher, I will be sharing my experience with that later on!
Extra tip to think on: If you are planning on writing a course to go along with your book--think about coinciding steps/events your character will go though that you can reference back in your course. Be intentional.