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Treatments and Outlines

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

Treatments and outlines are like sketches of your story. They help find the general shape and look but can be completed quickly.

They can be bullet points, but sometimes writing them in paragraph form is handier. It forces your brain to stitch the pieces together and reveals where holes or redundancies might be.

You can do them short, but the longer you make it, the more precise the details become. A good rule of thumb is to try to at least bullet point the main story beats—there could be over a hundred in your novel—or write out one-quarter of the word or page count. Both of these give a clear picture without getting lost too deep in the weeds of your story.

Lastly, do a couple of drafts of the outline, and treat the process like you're rewriting the completed novel. Read it repeatedly, out loud, and slowly so that every word is registered. Don't rush. Make minor corrections and larger ones. Do anything to engage with the material.

Treat every opportunity to tell your story in a small, more straightforward fashion as an opportunity to improve. Working hard in the present will always make your writing later on


David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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