Outlining a Story by Samaire Provost 2   Recently updated !


Reprinted with permission from the original Facebook post by Samaire Provost. Read her Q&A here. Check out her Amazon page here.


The following outline will fill 25-30k+ words for me. I will take each point and write A TON on it. It should be noted this kind of story has A LOT of dialogue, which moves the story forward at a brisk pace, plus provides a lot of visual white space on the page, which calms the reader.

In which I take a long paragraph and write a detailed outline from it so that I can write fast and not need to stop to create.

Paragraph: Naomi’s sister is a type of fae that can be sworn to secrecy with a spell – but they must agree and be part of the spell. The headmistress followed Holly out of her office and heard everything. Now Naomi’s sister knows Holly’s secret. But the headmistress has sworn her to secrecy, even from Holly. She doesn’t want Holly to know her true heritage, this is in order to protect her. Naomi and Jessica plot their revenge. They plot to kill Holly in an accident. But Chance is secretly fond of Holly. He knows her secret. It’s why he’s protective over her. It’s why Holly was given two powerful familiars. Chance is caught in the trap laid for Holly, at the top of the Academy- on the Astronomy tower. They see Holly try to kiss someone. They shove her out the large open Astronomy tower windows. Both she and Chance fall. Chance’s hawk familiar appears and grows instantly to enormous size, and gets under the two, and saves them from falling to their deaths. Jessica and Naomi are expelled.

Outline written from above paragraph idea:

I. Headmistress explains to Holly that she followed her out and heard everything.

A. Headmistress gives Holly a tissue

B. Headmistress apologizes

C. Headmistress did not realize the problem was this widespread.

II. Headmistress tells Holly that the headmistress has sworn Miss Page to secrecy using the Secrecy Spell, and that Renée cannot ever reveal Holly’s secret on penalty of death.

A. Headmistress has placed Secrecy Spell on Renée.

B. Holly asks what secrets the headmistress has sworn Renée to.

C. Headmistress explains she cannot reveal what the secrets are concerning Holly, for Holly’s own protection.

D. Headmistress explains that Holly’s heritage can make her a target.

E. Holly wonders of some students already know, but headmistress tells her no, only a select few know and those people have been sworn to secrecy.

F. Headmistress explains to Holly that the bullying is from the misborn thing and some students being jealous of Holly’s royal lineage. Royal lineage could mean Holly has a distant ancestor who was a Duke, so you don’t know what’s going on.

G. Holly is frustrated but thanks the headmistress for her help.

H. Headmistress tells Holly the people that took part in the bullying that day will all receive black marks on their academic records, which seriously damages their prospects for entry into dozens of coveted programs, and also, they have been warned a second incident will result in immediate expulsion.

III. Chance knows Holly’s secret.

A. That is why he is protective over her.

B. That is why she was assigned two powerful familiars.

C. Holly does not realize how powerful a faerie’s familiar really is. They have powers and can lay their life down for the fae they protect.

IV. Chance is secretly sweet on Holly. She is 14, Chance is 15.

A. Chance makes it known he is sweet on Holly, but very subtly.

B. Chance tells Holly he knows her secret.

1. Holly is upset.

2. Chance says he wants to tell her a small part of her secret and to meet him on the castle’s western tower (the Astronomy tower) at midnight, so he can tell her this secret and no one will see.

3. He says to bring her birthday necklace.

4. Holly sneaks out at midnight and goes to the tower.

5. He tells her the necklace is a gift from her father.

6. Holly asks Chance if her father is still alive or if the gift was a bequest. Chance cannot answer that.

V. Naomi and Jessica plot their revenge. They plot to kill Holly in an accident.

A. They overhear Chance telling Holly to meet him after hours.

B. They follow Holly that night.

C. They see Holly kissing someone.

D. They shove her out the large open Astronomy tower windows.

E. Both Holly and Chance fall.

F. Jessica and Naomi see Chance fall with Holly, as the pair are caught in moonlight at the very second they fall.

G. Jessica and Naomi panic and run back to bed.

H. They hope no one will know they did the deed.

I. Chance’s hawk familiar appears as Chance and Holly fall. The split second Chance is overwhelmed by fear.

1. The hawk appears in a second. In the next second it has assessed the situation and has morphed to a massive size.

2. The hawk flies faster than the eye can see, to a point under the falling Chance and Holly. They are saved by the hawk.

3. The hawk flies them to the ground.

4. Chance holds Holly close in a loving embrace.

VI. The headmistress has had Holly watched, since the incident in her office.

A. She sees Holly and Chance on the Astronomy Tower.

B. She sees who pushed Holly.

C. She rushes out to where Chance and Holly are, on the ground outside. D. She praises the hawk familiar, who shrinks down to normal size.

E. She chews out Chance and Holly for being out of bed after hours.

VII. Jessica and Naomi are expelled.


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