We understand how challenging developing stories is for even the most talented authors. The most challenging part of any project is always the beginning. What to write about? Why? And what would these characters do in certain situations? Even more important, what is the main gist of the story? We know that only the author can answer these questions, but figuring them out first allows the work to flow more smoothly.
We also know that the fall season is prime time for putting pen to paper or fingers to keywords, so we put this template together in time for optimal use. And, while many writers scribble out notes on napkins or draft outlines on their laptops to plan and brainstorm new works, we have a better way. Using our Story Outline Template to keep the story grounded will help during both the writing and editing phases of a project.
We designed this story outline template to help writers put together the basics of their story. From the basic plot and outline, setting, and characters, it’s all here to spark each writer’s creativity. Let’s take a look at the slides and get started!
Story Outline Template
A basic cover page where the title of the work will figure prominently.
The story premise is the foundation on which everything else in the story is built. We think of it as a step-by-step guide to planning an outline. From deciding on the time and place where the story occurs to who the protagonist is and what their motivation is, this slide helps a writer develop a concise summary of what the story is about.
Setting: Place and time are vital. For instance, maybe Key West during a hurricane or London during a German bombing raid during World War II?
Main Character: The name and details about the character. For instance, their name, age, and background. Is the person a cruise ship captain? A nurse for the English Army? Or a wealthy socialite stuck in a bad situation? What has formed their personality? What does the character want?
Antagonist: Who is the antagonist in the story? What is the relationship to the main character? In the Key West example, the hurricane might be the antagonist, and the nurse mentioned above might be facing an enemy air force as she works to save lives.
The details are tied together in a short summary: A young American nurse works with allied troops during a London bombing raid, dashing between the bombs to check the pulses of soldiers and civilians on the ground. As she does so, she faces her own mortality but realizes how important it is to stay alive and save everyone she can.
THREE ACTION PLOTTING
Every story needs to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Though it can be done in many ways, the most logical way to tell a story is moving from the story’s initial setup through rising action and a number of exciting pivots, and finally on to a resolution.
These are the actual points of action that the story moves forward upon. They connect the actions of the individual characters and create the story like a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces are slowly connected. They are each of the story moments where something important happens. For example: A bomb is dropped on London, and the nurse we mentioned is so close she was almost hit. But, she springs into action and puts her training to work. Then another character might appear, and another action will occur. On and on...putting the story together and connecting the dots.
STORY TIMELINE TRACKER
This is the slide where the story is laid out. Action One. Action Two. Through to the end and resolution.
This slide helps with decisions about the actual chapter layout and how much of the story will be revealed in each.
WHERE, WHO, WHEN, WHY: CHARACTERS AND MOTIVATIONS
This slide details more about the initial setting and characters, along with what motivates each of them and why. It provides the richness of the story that keeps the reader engrossed.
This slide recaps the framework of all the other slides in one place. At this point, the writer should be able to put together a fairly comprehensive outline of the entire story.
Once a writer has worked through each of our Story Outline Template slides, they should be ready to write the first draft of their story. Better yet, they can come back to it as they write revisions and edit each of them, always being sure they stay true to their premise and characters.