Outlines, Synopses, and Plotting . . . Oh, My!

Over the years, I have struggled with plotting and outlining. And don't get me started on writing synopses. This year, I have finally managed to wrap my brain around the whole outline thing, which helped me with plotting . . . and yes even with writing a synopsis.

A year ago, I wrote an outline for the book I'm about to finish. I followed the outlining method in the book Save the Cat. My outline started out looking like this:

It was a poster divided into three acts, represented by the four rows. (Don't ask me how it makes sense to have three acts in four rows. It just does. LOL.) I eventually filled in all four rows with post-it notes, detailing scenes. It was incredibly useful, but I didn't have a good idea of how the plot worked until I watched the youtube video above of Dan Wells teaching his seven point plot structure.

There are actually five videos of Dan Wells's plotting class. I watched them all, and I took notes. Light bulbs went off in my head like never before. Finally I understood how to outline the plot. I went through the book I was writing and filled in the seven plot points with ease. The way he explained it made so much more sense than anything I'd ever heard before.

Now, as I'm finishing up my next book, I've used my seven-point-plot outline to write a synopsis, a book blurb, and a query--all within a few hours. These videos have been one of the most helpful things I've watched all year. I'm so thankful, I wanted to share. Happy late Thanksgiving!