WriteIdea: From Idea to Outline


WriteIdea: our new 12 week course to help you from first idea to a full outlined novel

  • Have you got a great story idea, but don’t know where to start?
  • Have you got too many ideas and don’t know which one to choose?
  • Do you struggle with structuring your story?
  • Are you a pantser, who always gets stuck?

If you answered yes to any of these, this is the course for you. Work at your own pace, and with 12 months access to the course and it’s notes, this is the perfect place to start if you’re starting a novel and need some help with structure. Each week you will have notes to read through and activities to do, which will help you build towards outlining your story from start to finish. If you complete all the weeks and tasks, you’ll end up with a tangible, well-structured outline for a story. All that will be left for you to do is write it. Easy, right? *Please note that this is an untutored course.

Course Outline:

Week Title Details Tangible Outcome(s)
1 Generating Ideas Promising Ideas Exercises to help focus you on generating new ideas Filtering out the most promising ideas by likely story potential and commercial appeal – generate new ideas – develop new methods for idea generation – identify which ideas have greatest promise
2 Developing Ideas Taking the most promising ideas and ensuring they have all the elements need for a story – add setting, character and conflict to original idea
3 Part 1: Premise Part 2: Premise into Pitch Turning Ideas into Premises and Pitches – develop idea further and produce a premise with all the main elements – develop a pitch which encapsulates the heart of your story
4 Character Part 1: Wants and Needs Part 2: Mutli-layered characters Understanding wants and needs. Adding layers to your character – flaws, fears, strengths, admirable qualities – and then digging even deeper! – establish what your character wants and ultimately needs – develop a multi-layered character with admirable but also flawed attributes
5 Character Part 3: Motivation and Agency Part 4: Stakes and Consequences Setting our story in motion with motivation, agency and high stakes. – know what makes your characters act, and how to ensure agency throughout your story – establish what your characters have to lose if they don’t get what they want
6 Developing Conflict, Tension, Antagonism and Raising the Stakes Using your characters flaws and fears and developing specific forces of antagonism to force them to face their fears/overcome their flaws. – build a list of all the conflicts, both internal and external, that your character will have to overcome – develop a believable antagonistic who’s motivation we can understand, even if we don’t agree with the methods – ideas of escalating the tension and the stakes, and what’s to lose for our characters
7 Part 1: Hooks And Openings Part 2: Emotional Hooks Start your story in the right place. Making sure your opening pages have the aspects that you need to keep a reader hooked. – a first page with a hook that engages your reader and makes them root for your character from the very start – an established world and setting that your reader will be able to immerse themselves in immediately – something mysterious or hooky enough to make your reader begin asking questions that must be answered
8 Building Structure Looking at the main ways to structure a story and how you might build your forces of antagonism over the course of your story. – create your own structure template (or download ours!) – complete the template to begin building the spine of your story
9 Part 1: Mid-Points Part 2: Dark Night of the Soul Ensure that your middle continues to build the conflict, tension and stakes and leads towards the peaks and troughs of Act 2, with the lowest possible moment coming in the Dark Night of the Soul. – create the mirror moment in the middle of your story, which you can work forward or back from – write or plan your characters darkest moment in the story
10 Part 1: Climax Part 2: Resolution How will it end? Know the ending before you start. We’ll look at potential endings for your characters in their story – where do we want them to be at the end compared with the start? – write or plan your climax, ensuring it hits all the emotional beats to maximise the impact on your reader – resolve all the story strands set-up in the novel and potentially leave it open for a sequel (if it’s part of a series)
11 Making a plan Start to note down key points in your story – a bullet outline. – making 3 and 5 point plans
12 Writing an outline Developing and expanding upon your plan to write a more fully rounded and complete outline, which you will use an accompanying, and ever-changing document during your first draft. – write your outline (warning: this will take some time, but quicker than if you hadn’t spent 12 weeks put all the foundations in place


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