Week 2

The Magic of Outlining

Show Transcript

Nick [00:00:05]:
Hey. Once again, Nick here, and I know I told you a little bit about me. I’m gonna use this video as sort of an introduction to me, but also to outlining in general, and, again, why I doubled down on it and why I think you should too. First of all, I write books, and I also build stuff for authors. This course is a good example of that. I do book career in a year is kind of my my home base for all of this stuff. I’ve built an author email service, not so creatively called author email. You can check that out at authoremail.com.

Nick [00:00:36]:
That’s just an email service provider like Mailchimp or MailerLite, but it’s built for authors, like you. I also work with Draft2Digital. So if you’ve heard of that company, they actually acquired author email a few years back, and I’ve been on the team ever since. So I go talk, at conferences about email, and it’s all kind of through Draft2Digital. So they are a fantastic group of people. I include myself among them, but they also build really cool things for authors. And I’ve done all kinds of weird little things like a 24 hour radio station, called the Radio Write where it’s just instrumental music that you can write to in all different genres, including rock, pop, you know, lo fi, that kind of stuff, but also has some author podcasts that just constantly go. So go check that out if you want, if you care about that sort of thing.

Nick [00:01:22]:
Anyway, you’re not here for any of that. You’re here for outlining. You’re here for why I am such a stickler about why we need to have 1. You can see on the slide, it’s I did say outlining isn’t for everyone. Just kidding. Yes. It is. That’s true.

Nick [00:01:34]:
Look. If you’re coming at me with, I’m a pantser through and through, you’re never gonna convince me otherwise, fine. Maybe I won’t. But just hear me out. I’ve got, like, 7 hours of video that it’s gonna show you. If you change certain things about your workflow and your mindset And you try certain things that you may have not tried before or at least practice things that you’ve heard but never really practiced, you might actually get better at this thing. Now I’m not here to make you angry. I’m not trying to do that.

Nick [00:02:01]:
I know I probably ruffled some feathers. But if you’re if you’ve already gotten an outlining course and you’re watching, like, the 3rd or 4th or 5th video of the thing, you kinda wonder that, you know, maybe there’s something here for me. Right? I’m telling you, there is something here for you. Even if you don’t use whole thing, I’m gonna give you a whole hog. You can take pieces of this and use it as you need. And maybe you need help developing characters. I’ve got a way to do that. That’s very simple, and it works great.

Nick [00:02:27]:
And it allows you the creative juice, you know, that you need to to write your own thing. I I think a lot of authors get caught up in the idea that they don’t like outlining because it’s it’s gonna be too formulaic. It’s gonna take the creativity away. I don’t think that’s true, honestly. I think it gives me more creative, ability. It gives me more freedom because I’ve I I if I get stuck somewhere, I know where I can go because I have the outline written out, but also I’m the person who wrote the outline in the 1st place. So all of that creative energy that I used went into the outline, and that’s creative. Right? And so yeah.

Nick [00:03:00]:
Sure. I have to flush it out and put the words in and do all the things, but it’s no less creative than if I didn’t have that in the at the in the 1st place. What an outline helps me with mostly is speed. If you’re here from the dictation course, you know that I have to have an outline to dictate. But even before I dictated, I had to have an outline to get me to the next page. And not a lot of authors are like that, but I was certainly the kind that needed the outline. What I’ve come to realize over the years, though, and over 40 something books published, and and cowritten with other people is that having that outline doesn’t just keep me and the other author on the same page if you’re working with a cowriter. It keeps me and my brain who wants to go all over the place on the same page.

Nick [00:03:40]:
So stick with it. You know, I I think you’re gonna get something out of it even if you don’t 2. But in order to really, really, you know, push the point home, I put a whole slide together on why we should outline. This gets into the the the age old debate. You know? Are we a plotter? Are we a pantser? That means do you write from a plot or do you write from the seat of your pants? There are even well, you know, whatever. The point is you don’t have to outline on paper, but I really do believe that every author who’s any good has some kind of form format or formula or even even just a basic plan in their head bouncing around as they’re writing a book. Even Stephen King, if you really pressed him against the wall, I I think he would say, yeah. Yeah.

Nick [00:04:25]:
I mean, I kinda there’s something in my I guess I kinda know. Or he would even argue, oh, yeah. It just kinda comes out. I don’t really know, but it’s in there. That’s my point is it’s in there somewhere. All we’re doing with outlining is just taking it out and writing it down ahead of time so we can look at it. Because that’s all we wanna do is just look at it. Okay? You don’t have to change it, Or you don’t even have to use it.

Nick [00:04:43]:
You can throw it away afterwards, but this course is gonna show you how to get it out of your head onto paper or computer, and then see that it works. Because there’s nothing more frustrating than writing a a 100,000 word novel and realizing at the end that there’s some kind of disconnect between what you intended and what actually got published. Usually, that can be alleviated before we even write the book, if we have a good solid proper outline. Now I I said a lot of things that I know are ruffling feathers for some of you. I can picture some of you because I know you. I love you. I I promise. But look.

Nick [00:05:19]:
Try it. Try it my way. Just once. Just just well, no. That’s not true. Try it my way and practice it. Do it a few times before you say it doesn’t work because I I can almost I know there’s exceptions that prove the rule, but my god. I can almost guarantee I can improve your book if you give me the outline, whatever you’re about to write, I can make it better if you just show me where you’re going with things.

Nick [00:05:41]:
I I look. I I don’t know. I’m just I’m not I’m no expert. I’m no professional in outlining. I’m just I’ve seen it enough times to know that even if your book is the greatest book of all time, I could probably make it better if you showed me the outline first and we move some things, it doesn’t have to be a whole lot, but we move some things around. A lot of times I’ll get a book through my publishing company. We’ll get books that have a midpoint twist that happens at 65% of the way through the book. Now look, I’m not here to tell you that there’s a formula that we always have to follow.

Nick [00:06:08]:
Right? That we always have to say, well, the midpoint has to happen at 50%, if your novel is 250 pages long, that better happen at a 125 pages. On page 120 I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying, though, is that the vast majority of genre fiction, so not literary fiction where we’re trying to win win awards and all that crap, but but real fiction that people like to read. K. Real people like to read. That stuff that sells. Right? That stuff that makes money. And the vast majority of the time, that stuff fits a plan within, you know, a 10% margin of error.

Nick [00:06:45]:
Right? So the 50% Mark, for the midpoint. May happen at 46%, or it may happen at 54%, but it’s it’s right there somewhere. But if it’s at 65%, I can pretty much tell. As a reader, I’m gonna be reading that feeling like it’s it’s really good, but it’s not, there’s something about it. Right? There’s it’s not perfect. We’ve all experienced this when we read books. The writer isn’t bad. The author knows what they’re doing.

Nick [00:07:12]:
They’re creative. The story’s fun. The characters work. But something about it just doesn’t land. It doesn’t hit home. Right? There’s something about it that’s just slightly off. Sometimes it’s even worse, and it’s just totally wrong. Right? When I and I can’t help you.

Nick [00:07:29]:
You need just to hold watch the whole course and start over. But for most of you, you’re very good at what you do, and you’re that author who’s like, hey. It’s all it’s all pretty good, and it’s all in my head, and it works, and and my readers really love it, and the people that read it, but I just can’t get more of them. I can’t find the next readers. The they’re not passing it off to their friends and family and saying, you gotta read this guy or this girl. And and the reason for that is I truly believe there’s something very subtle, something small that’s just a little bit off from that reader’s expectation. And usually, it comes down to not having that thing in the outline and upfront, and you can’t see where you’re missing. You can’t see that your hook is buried 20% into the book and all the stuff before that is is not helpful.

Nick [00:08:13]:
You can’t see that the climax happens way too early at 70% or whatever, and and people are just like, okay. Well, the book’s over. Why am I reading 30% more of this book? If you have an outline, you can understand that flow and the pacing so much better, and it’s so much clearer before you write anything. Even after you write, you can go back to the outline and say, okay. Well, I I actually got a little bit verbose here at 25% and my inciting incident gets lost. Great. Now you know where to edit down. On that same note, it can be as long or as short as you want, but having some plan is really going to help you.

Nick [00:08:47]:
Now I know I’ve I’ve really belabored the point that the horse is dead 10 times over, all that. Stick with me because once you see what I’m doing and and what I’m wanting you to practice a little bit, I think you’ll understand. Okay. I don’t have to do exactly what he’s saying, but I gotta admit, he’s kinda got a point. Right? And he’s a good looking dude, and he knows what he’s talking about because he’s written a bunch Okay. I know you’re thinking that, but all I want you to hear is if you just try some of this, it’s probably gonna make your books better. If you really, really, really commit to figuring out how your outlines can be improved. I think your books will be better for it, and better books mean more more book sales.

Nick [00:09:24]:
We all want that. So keep watching. Keep listening. We’re gonna get into it.

The Game-Changing Power of Outlining

Hey there, fellow writers! Sooo, I’ve been diving deep into the whole outlining thing, and let me tell you, it’s been an eye-opener.

Today, I’m gonna spill the beans on how outlining can amp up your writing game. So, grab a cup of joe (or preferred beverage) and let’s dish about why outlining is the secret ingredient that can take your storytelling to a whole new level.

Outlining Benefits

Outlining isn’t just about making your writing all neat and organized (though that’s pretty awesome too).

It’s like having a roadmap for your story, but with cool stops and unexpected detours. It’s a game-changer for staying on track, dodging writer’s block, and making sure all the juicy bits and plot twists fall into place like a perfectly stacked deck of cards.

It doesn’t cramp your style; it’s like the VIP pass to your creativity party. It’s where you can sketch out all those wild story ideas, build epic character arcs, and create plots thicker than your grandma’s homemade gravy.

Outlining is your secret weapon for bringing order to the chaos, so your creativity can shine bright like a literary supernova.

Smashing Resistance

I get it; some of us resist outlining ’cause it feels like putting the reins on our wild stallion of creative freedom.

But, here’s the deal – outlining doesn’t box you in; it’s more like giving your creativity a power-up. It’s your guiding star, helping you seamlessly blend your creative zing with a dash of practicality, so your story can soar without losing any of its magic.

Picture outlining as your plot’s BFF, ensuring your story unfolds like a perfectly choreographed dance routine. It’s where your story elements sync up flawlessly, creating a narrative rhythm that keeps readers spellbound from start to finish.

With a solid outline, your storytelling becomes a masterclass in harmony, where each twist, turn, and reveal hits the bullseye.

Think of outlining as your awesome sidekick, making your writing journey a rollercoaster ride of sheer delight. It’s not just about scribbling words; it’s about creating a literary world that pulses with purpose and pizzazz.

And when readers dive into your outlined narratives, they’re in for an adventure that grips ’em tight and never lets go, kind of like a literary adrenaline rush.

Tapping into the Potential of Outlining

Outlining isn’t your story’s enemy; it’s the secret sauce that takes your narrative from good to mind-blowing.

It’s the turbo boost that cranks up your creative engine, ensuring your stories crackle with energy and zest.

Embrace the outlining magic, and watch your storytelling soar to wickedly awesome heights.

Outlining isn’t the big bad wolf; it’s the magic wand that transforms your storytelling dreams into reality.

So, roll up your sleeves, give outlining a high-five, and let the creative fireworks begin! It’s time to unlock the full potential of your stories and set the literary world ablaze with your epic imagination.

Let’s do this!

Ready for More?

You’ll get the next video next week, but if you’d rather not wait — and unlock all 5 modules and 54 videos — check out Outlining for Authors.