Posted on Leave a comment

[Preptober Pt.3] Deciding on an Outlining Method

***Before I get to the juicy stuff, let’s get some housecleaning done. Be sure you read all the way to the bottom for some ways you can access to exclusive content not available to the public. If this is your first time joining us, we here at FyreSyde are a husband and wife duo who made the decision we wanted to offer a community to help our creative entrepreneurs, readers, bloggers and authors alike. Blaise’s book, Blessing of Luna can be found on Amazon in audiobook, paperback and eBook with the second book in the series, Bane of Tenebris, due to be released in July of 2019. If you would like to sign up for the launch team and receive a free digital copy of the book, please take the time to fill out this form.*** 


TheWe’ve made it folks, it’s the second to the last week of Preptober. We have a solid idea, we’ve decided on whether or not to mind-map and if we have, now we’re ready to outline! (Unless you’re a pantser, plotster, etc. Still read on! You might change your mind and avoid the mid-month wall crash).

Last week, I went over three different outlining methods you can use when approaching your outline. HOWEVER! There are many and I encourage you to choose what works for you. 

For the purpose of this post however, I will cover the three I mentioned. 

Good Old Dan Wells

Dan Well’s created an outlining method known as the 7-point plot structure**. This is possibly my favorite method because it forces you to focus on the main points in the story and alleviates focusing too much on details too early on.

This method begins with what he likes to call the “Ice Breaker Monster.” Basically, you’re promising the reader just as they open the book that action is coming down the pike. You might do this as Lord of the Rings did by starting backwards and showing some history prior to beginning the actual story.dan-wells

  • Part 1: The Hook: This is the character in their ordinary world. Where they start before the inciting incident pushes them to move the story forward. In Lord of the Rings, this is when we see Harry in his squalid condition of living under the stairs. It gives us a glance into the world before moving on to the first Plot Turn.
  • Part 2: Plot Turn 1: This is your inciting incident. The action that moves your character forward into their journey. In Lord of the Rings, Frodo is given the ring by Gandalf and told to meet him in Bree.
  • Part 3: Pinch 1: This would follow after your hero refuses to answer the call to action. They need to be persuaded to move into their journey. For example, Frodo goes to Bree but finds Gandalf isn’t there. He realizes he must continue the journey with the help of Aragorn.
  • Part 4: Midpoint: The meat of the story. A point where the character realizes they have to answer the call to action. Going back to the example of Lord of the Rings, this is when Frodo is with the council and realizes he’s the only one who can take the ring to Mordor. The Fellowship is formed.
  • Part 5: Pinch 2: This is when things get bad. The hero often suffers a severe loss and finds themselves alone. After the battle with the Balrog, Frodo loses Gandalf and feels shaken in his resolve.
  • Part 6 & 7 are known as the Plot turn 2 and resolution. The hero is able to get the last pieces of the story put together and move on into the resolution. Frodo and Sam decide they can’t accomplish their goals through the broken fellowship and must continue on their own. In the end, Frodo throws the Ring into the fires of Mt. Doom thus destroying Sauron.

**If you need further elaboration, Dan himself walks through three different examples in this youtube series.

Dan Harmons’ Embryo Method

tumblr_inline_n8sssrntlC1qj0ue8Screen writer Dan Harmon does a dissection of the popular Hero’s Journey template by removing parts he deems “unnecessary” to avoid the “fluff” and move right into the action. His method is broken down like this:

  • You (a character is in a zone of comfort) > Introduce your character
  • Need (but they want something) > There’s something off
  • Go (they enter an unfamiliar situation) > Call to action/ inciting incident
  • Search (adapt to it) > They have no choice but to continue
  • Find (find what they wanted) > The Midpoint
  • Take (pay its price) > Things get bad for the protagonist
  • Return (and go back to where they started) > Finding the power within
  • Change (now capable of change) > The hero is ready to face the beast head on

I use this method from time to time because it’s very basic and doesn’t focus on details much like Dan Wells’. For more in depth study, I invite you to check this wikia.

3 Act, 9 Block, 27 Chapter Method

This is the method I used for my first novel. It’s miraculous for pacing and can offer great incite on how to break your chapters down into a manageable 27. It was founded by Katytastic on youtube and has since been used by many authors to complete their66714aed90eb335e39bf28c3fcd44a65 novels.

However, because of its length and the way it’s set up, I’m unable to go over every piece here. If requested, I’d be happy to do a rundown. Writer’ has already done so for the popular Young Adult series, Hunger Games.

But Which is Right for me?

As I mentioned, there are many ways to outline. Chapter by Chapter, 3 Act, Snowflake Method, Hero’s Journey, etc. There is no “right” way to outline. It’s all how you, the author, want to plan your novel. 

Start by asking yourself these three questions:

  1. How much do I want to know before writing?
  2. Which would benefit my story most?
  3. What aspect of my story would I possibly struggle with most?

Once you know these, it should be easier for you to decide, if at all. If you’re a total plotster or panster, then sit down and go for it!


Thank you so much for joining us this week. We are so excited to share this series with you and hope it helps during these next two months. We invite you to sign up for our newsletter and receive not one but two free eBooks as a thank you! We will never spam you!

As we mentioned above, we’re offering exclusive content only available to those who support us on Patreon. Why Patreon? Because it’ll help us reach our goals of putting out printing compilations, extras and eventually publishing opportunities to authors struggling to either start or are desperately looking to avoid the slush piles of bigger publishing houses. 

We welcome you to join us twice a week on our Twitch channel where you can get to know us on a more personal basis, watch as we work, play video games and chat with our readers live! As of now we’re aiming for 7 – 9PM CST Wednesdays and Sundays! 

If you have the time and want to find some wonderful folks who can help you design the perfect eye-catching book cover, please drop by our friends at Use the code, FYRESYDE to get 5% off your purchase! We use no one but this team of dedicated professionals for all of our book covers.

Had trouble with Word losing your files? Want a place you can plan, outline, have your character sheets, research, etc? Look no further than Scriviner. Trusted by our authors for almost a year, Scriviner is available wherever you need it to be. Now as an app! Click the links for Mac or Windows.

If you would like to write for us, please get in touch with us at! We would love to talk with you!

Leave a Reply