If you write a good outline for your book, you can easily write a good book. If your outline is weak, more than likely your book will be equally less compelling. Before we start, I must add a good outline may mean different things to different people. There are lots of good ways to create an outline. In this lesson, we’ll focus on creating a linear outline; then in a later section we’ll use a mind map to outline your book.
An outline is considered the roadmap for getting from a blank page to your finished book. We will look at six basic ways to create a linear outline. Then in an additional section of this lesson, we’ll discuss creating an outline using a mind map. I’ll leave the choice to you which suits you best to create your book outline.
The six most common and basic outlines in the linear method are:
- Alphabetically Outline
- Step by Step Outline
- Mistakes Outline
- List Outline
- Q/A Outline
- Content Outline
Even so, there are two main elements every outline should have. The table of contents is one and the other is chapter divisions. You’ll find it’s easier for you and your readers to find information, if you divide it into chapters and even sections. It chunks the information into smaller pieces that are easier for your readers to read and absorb.
Also, dividing your information into chapters makes it easier to create your table of contents. This table is where your readers will find out what’s in your book and where it’s located.
So, your first step is to decide how you want to organize your information. Then arrange the information into chapters that align with your outline method. As you add information and flesh out your book, you can decide whether to add sub-topics and sub-divisions to your chapters. The last thing to do and for some the first thing to do is generate the table of contents. Now, let’s look at each of the six outline types.