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How to Create an Outline for Your Novel

Anybody Can Write a Novel Version 2.0

Chapter 4 “Preparing Your Plot” – Section 1 “The Outline”


Plot is what happens in your story. Every story needs structure, just as every body needs a skeleton. It is how you 'flesh out and clothe' your structure that makes each story unique.”

-Caroline Lawrence


Of all of the topics to discuss in writing a novel, none of them inspire quite so much ire as that of outlining your story. As artists, we sometimes want to believe in the concept of absolute freedom from form and convention, and that our achievements come from personal brilliance, total creativity, and ingenuity. However, when we consider how visual artists are critiqued when audience-appreciation for their piece is diminished by a lack of shading, poor color selection, bad perspective, or any number of faults which objectively cause the art to diminish in effect, we realize that this is an artistic double-standard. Writers are architects who are building a glorious tower of words, characters, and story, but we often forget that towers must perform certain basic functions—such as keeping out the rain, creating even surfaces for furniture and people to stand, or even surviving gravity through a geometrically sound foundation. We achieve these basic necessities by using simple conventions and tools that have been perfected over the years—like floors, steel beams, walls, indoor plumbing, and windows. Novels, like towers, also have basic functions that are necessary for a meaningful connection with the audience—such as immersion, characters, events, and a plot designed in such a way to pull the reader in and make them experience the story—and so novels also require the tools and conventions that have been been developed by the masters of our art. There are countless types of outlines available for making a powerful story—varying from complex and specific lists of plot elements, to simply having a clear beginning, middle, and end. Additionally, it is certainly possible to subconsciously create a plot with success, by piecing together everything you've learned about outlines by reading books and watching movies. However, for my method of creating an outline with deliberation, purpose, and planning, we will be using one that has enough detail that we can look at it piece-by-piece and discuss each element; it is the Twelve-Point Plot Outline.


The Twelve-Point Plot Outline

(With a sample from the 2002 production of Spiderman)


Act I – Beginning- (Setting up the Story)


The Beginning

For your readers to appreciate the journey of your heroes, they must have a look at what life was for the hero before the journey began. In the Beginning plot-point, show the norm of the hero's life, while setting up the event or chain of events that will trigger the story and upcoming Inciting Incident. In other words, line up the dominoes that you plan on toppling over, and build anticipation in the reader. Also, begin to reveal your world and introduce your major characters.

-Peter Parker is a high-school nerd, dealing with bullies, his feelings for a girl named MJ, and the process of learning how to be a good person from his Uncle Ben. He goes on a field trip to a science lab where genetically altered spider are being created.


The Inciting Incident

There are two major events that happen in Act I. The first event is the one that changes your protagonist's world/life in a way that cannot be reversed—the Inciting Incident. This is to be the big change that is the catalyst for the story to be possible, the bomb that alters everything.

-Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider, gets super-powers, and uses them to make his life more tolerable.


The First Turning Point

The second major event in Act I is the one that is deeply personal to the protagonist—the First Turning Point. This is an event that is even more life-changing than (but related to) the Inciting Incident, and is what brings the protagonist to decide how they are going to react to the Inciting Incident.

-Peter Parker is ripped off by the owner of a wrestling arena, and so allows the owner to be mugged to get even. The mugger then kills Uncle Ben, and Parker awakens to the idea that his power comes with responsibility and consequences if he does not use them well. He becomes a vigilante for justice.


Act II – Middle - (Confronting the Antagonist Forces)


The Rising Action

Now that your protagonist has been set on a course of action, they must stand and move towards it—this is the Rising Action plot-point. Usually, this will be a series of attempts of the protagonist to achieve his/her goal, before he/she is skilled or capable enough to succeed. This step usually includes many light failures, successes, adventures, and misadventures, that serve to strengthen the hero and teach them more about themselves. Things begin to gradually get better/worse, depending upon what sort of story you are telling, and upon the natural consequences of the protagonist's actions.

-Parker tries to learn how to use his powers, and acts as a hero, with varying degrees of success and appreciation from the public. This makes him begin to rely emotionally on public approval from his actions as a hero. However, he grows in competence.


The First Pinch Point

During the First Pinch Point, the primary antagonist will do something dark or critical, that puts pressure on the protagonist to react. This pressure is created to lead up to the first confrontation, to build up tension by showing readers the power set against the protagonist, and to point out the weaknesses still present in the hero.

-After quickly incapacitating Parker, the Green Goblin tells him that the citizens he protects will eventually turn on him, and offers a partnership to rule over the city, arguing that fighting will lead to senseless destruction of pathetic people.


The Midpoint

During the Midpoint, the protagonist reacts to the First Pinch Point, confronts the antagonist, and fails in a very critical way. This plot point is meant to illustrate the power of the antagonist, as well as the immensity of the challenge ahead of the hero.

-Parker refuses the Green Goblins offer, and they fight—leading to Parker's failure to stop the Goblin and his arm being cut.


The Disaster

The Disaster is the plot point at which the hero deals with the consequences of failure. The actions that the protagonist takes will usually all be bad, destructive, and poorly thought out, due to the demoralizing failure that took place during the midpoint.

-The cut on Parker's arm reveals his identity to the Green Goblin, and his refusal insights anger; so the Goblin strikes at Parker by attacking everyone he loves. True to the Goblin's prediction, the city turns against Spiderman. Parker is crushed by the weight of the city's hatred and his own guilt.


The Second Pinch Point

While the majority of the plot-points should be centered around the actions of the protagonist, the Second Pinch Point is centered around the antagonistic force. Though the hero is still crushed, an event takes place which shows the power of the antagonist and creates a pressure that will eventually cause the hero to feel forced to action, even as they deal with their previous failure and its consequences. The purpose of this step is to have made the hero tumble to the lowest and most difficult depths possible, and then provide a reason that the protagonist MUST climb back up.

-The Goblin kidnaps MJ, the girl Parker loves.


The Second Turning Point

During the Second Turning Point, an event occurs that serves as a catalyst for the hero to stand back up and fight. Though this plot-point is similar to the Second Pinch Point, this step is not necessarily driven by the antagonist, nor centered around it, and it can function in a number of ways—by pushing the hero to rage, by giving them hope, by allowing them to see their own hidden strength, or any other realization that serves to strengthen them. The moment is very personal to the protagonist and their personal growth.

-The Goblin calls and tells Parker that he has taken MJ—pushing him past his depression and hopelessness into a protective rage for her. Though it's clearly a trap and Parker is outmatched situationally and by level of power, he goes after the Goblin to save MJ because he cares about her.


Act III – End – (Resolving the Conflict)


The Stand Up

Within the Stand Up plot-point, the protagonist rises to the challenge of the antagonist, with a renewed sense of purpose and self-discovery. Here, the protagonist will be fueled by whatever encouraged them during the Second Turning Point, and have some measure of success that will rejuvenate their spirit at least enough to fight.

-Parker is given a choice on whether to save MJ or a trolley full of children, and manages to save both of them. This nearly leads to his death, but he is saved by New Yorkers who consider Spidey to be one of their own.


The Climax

The Climax is the final battle, where the protagonist overcomes or is overcome by the antagonist. The main plot-line of the story is concluded. Even if the overarching story is not completely resolved (if you plan on writing a sequel or want to leave it somewhat open-ended) the primary struggle between the protagonist and and antagonist, which you established as the core of your plot, should have some sort of resolution.

-Parker fights the Goblin, still overcome by the Goblin's superiority, until he comes to the realization of the consequences to MJ, his family, and the citizens of New York if he fails. This gives him the strength to defeat the Goblin—who inadvertently kills himself.


The Epilogue

Just like the Beginning, the Epilogue plot-point establishes how your world and characters are changed by the events of the story. Show your audience a glimpse into the new norm for each of these after the story is concluded.

-Parker now fully realizes the weight of his existence, as he watched his friends in mourning over the death of the Goblin—his best friend's father. Though MJ now returns his feelings, Parker decides that his responsibility is to protect them both as Spiderman and Parker; so he pushes away his friends, family, and MJ, so that they will not be endangered again. Devotes himself to being a vigilante.


Weekly recommended reading: Hamlet by William “Billy” Shakespeare (In addition to the many amazing things you can learn from Shakespeare, especially about plot, the written format of his play illustrates the effects of mastering each plot point. I recommend either reading it if you are comfortable with the language, or else watching it with a copy of the script in hand so that you can watch the transition between Acts. This Act-by-Act summary will help absoluteshakespeare.com/guides… Note that instead of a 3-Act format, Shakespeare uses a 5-Act format. However the same plot-points can be found in each.)


Write-a-Novel Exercise 4.1


Fill out the Twelve-Point Plot Outline with the events you plan on happening in your plot. Each of these plot-points will be discussed in much greater detail when we begin our chapter on getting from one plot-point to the next. For now, your plot outline will exist as something to work on in terms of bullet points, to think about and adjust as we move on to fitting our stories with a cast of great characters. Compare your planned outline with your map, and begin to look at what complications and dynamic situations will arise between the two (will your character be stuck in the desert and having to find water or fight off mummies after he/she is defeated in the midpoint?) Also, begin looking at movies and stories in terms of plot-points, and see how many you can identify.


Critique other people's work by analyzing whether the sequence of events that the protagonist causes/endures makes sense as a logical progression.


Click here to submit your exercise. 

-O-



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:iconsimlouca:
Simlouca Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
My problem is similar to TheBaneOfHelios'.
I have two main parallel storys, both happening at the same time. In story 1 (S1) I show a little part of the protagonists day life, but in S2, I feel like everything is happening the way I wanted to, but the reader may be lost, since it's his first contact with the character. S2 starts at the Incident as well. Should I clarify his relationship with his father or let the reader situate himself with phrases here and there? For it's basically this — his relationship with his father — that moves him — the character —, but I feel like if I clarify everything, the reader will see him as merely a puppet, something he is'nt. Also, the prologue is about a third part, who I really needed to explain the motivations. Yet, she appears only at S2, where she befriends the character, then betrays him, then helps him again. Maybe it's too messy? Should I change the prologue to something about S2 day life?
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2016  Professional Writer
In my experience, it's been more important to make everything as clear as possible. Don't worry about being too forward. If your test-reader complain you can fix it in another draft. It will be more helpful to you if the test reader understands too well than if they don't get it at all. That being said, you will have to work at it. Balance in exposition is difficult to achieve.

Are your stories interdependent, or can you separate them into different novels?
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:iconsimlouca:
Simlouca Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'll try to get better at exposing. Yet, I'm afraid I'll show everything in the beginning and bore the reader with a long text about fairy politics and technical terms about humans who have metal parts in their body. I think I somehow describe the characters feelings and needs, but the reader is lost in the question "Why does it matter at all?", since I think I don't really let it clear who are the main important ones.

Plus, they are independent from each other, but S1 suddenly clashes S2 in the end, and in some parts there are references one could only understand reading thr other S. In addition, I do think that if I separate them, one will get too bored to read the other, for I don't think they can work one without the other. I wanted to make sober stories that happen at the same time, but in different places and with different characters, but somehow everything is connected, like Resident Evil 6, where there are three campaigns that are connected in minor moments.
For example - please don't laugh like everyone does - the antagonist of S2 is a human skin dealer fairy - sorry if I spelled wrong. I'm foreign -, who is legalized by the fairy queen. So said, I wanted to express what kind of queen would legalize that, but not in S2. Then S1 appears and shows the fairy queen's way of seeing things: she's racist. It's these minor things I wanted to tell the reader, but could'nt in a S2 only story.

I think I need a test reader, since I have none to read what I write for fear they would think it's too weird.
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2016  Professional Writer
Yes, a test reader is vital. But you can likely find a Writing Partner here on Deviant Art, someone who will read your work if you read theirs. Lots of writers are looking for that. Additionally, you can join the Greenbats, which is a critique group that is slowly coming together. Or there are also others. 

greenbat-tutorials.deviantart.…

The reason I ask about the plots is that your best bet may be to work them as sequels. Even though they are happening simultaneously, you may have better luck if you engage them one at a time. Obviously, I haven't read it so I can't say for sure, but it sounds like dividing them would solve a lot of your problems, and you could focus on one side of the story at a time. This would make it a lot of fun to read the other book, and allow the reader to be surprised by all the connections. 

And don't worry about your story being silly. All literature is silly in a way. I mean, my own is utterly ridiculous with my friendly monsters. Even classical literature is silly. I mean, an entire story about a man hunting a whale? The silliness is a good thing, It is a huge part of what people love about stories. Albert Camus said that "Fiction is the lie by which we tell the truth." I would take it one step further by saying that fiction is the silliness by which we engage with the most serious and important topics to the human condition. So embrace it and be proud of your silliness. 
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:iconsimlouca:
Simlouca Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The Greenbats sound amazing, but I will have to translate my entire work into english — and still make it sound cool. Nevertheless, I'll see if I find a brazillian in it. If not, I shall translate it all. :D

I think I'll work in both separate, writing only one at a time, and in the end I'll see if they work together.

And thanks :D
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:iconweidenlied:
Weidenlied Featured By Owner Edited Jul 10, 2016  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Quick questions: So, how long are these parts to be? I've got a first draft with 202 word-pages, and it takes me almost three chapters, or thirty pages approx., to get to the inciting incident. Is that too long?

And, secondly: It takes my story a really, really long time to reveal who the antagonist actually is (that is to say, which of the "good" guys is the evil one), so I'm wondering what to do with the mid point? I mean, any real confrontation cannot come with the antagonist before he's been revealed...
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2016  Professional Writer
To answer your first question, length completely depends on your style and target audience. If you working a draft, especially, I wouldn't worry about writing too much because you can cut and edit content more easily than adding new, so keep it up :)

For your second question, that sort of mystery is a perfectly valid form of storytelling. I would advise you use an antagonistic shadow, which is the removed actions set up by the antagonist, like a trap or something. Or you can disguise your antagonist and have them attack under alias.

I hope that helps!
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:iconweidenlied:
Weidenlied Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2016  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks!

I think I can do a trap... there's this priest that has been annoying me all throughout the storyline, and I think I finally found a good use for him!
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:iconthebaneofhelios:
TheBaneOfHelios Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2016  Student Writer
My story start right where the Incident starts. I can´t really tell how life was before the protagonists because at my first chapter I want to infuse the readers with some thought like "what is happening?" because that´s how the narrators PoV´s character is feeling. Also, there would be 2 diferent beginings, as there are 2 diferent situations that are mostly pararel. So, back to my question. Should I clarify how life was for the 2 main, possible PoV? I think that would bore the reader, and make them lost some of the beginings mistery but... it´s teasing to answer some questions like "how does civilization A interact with civilization B before artifact "I9" was activated" that could be problematic lately and force me to "tell" insead of "show" what it is. maybe I could set that up in some prologue but I´ve expected to do that in between episodes (each episode is about 10 chapters with one single character as the narrator´s PoV).

So, would you rather bore readers at the start to avoid future coherence problems or would you make the beginning confusing and unravel the mystery as the story progresses, so that the readers maybe need to venture back to understand what they read?
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2016  Professional Writer
I'm actually currently working on a story that has a situation similar to yours, where there is a large and mysterious pre-story leading to a rather sudden inciting incident. My advice would be to create enough of a Beginning Plot-Point to serve as a launch pad for the rest of the novel, and save the rest of your world-building to be revealed later on. Just focus on looking at the norm for your POV character before their life changed--in particular at the things that we can relate to no matter what the setting for your novel is. Is your character a daughter, a father, a mother, a son? Do they have a job? Do they have a daily routine? Maybe give us little tastes of the world and the anomalies of the background if they become relevant (for example if your POV character is a history teacher who is teaching his class). 

By doing this, you draw us into the story, hook us, make us interested through the relatable and understandable story before expecting us to get the story. All that being said, that does not mean that this only possible way you can do it, or the penultimate way. This would just be a balanced method to start with in your first draft, that you can later revise if you come up with something else. 
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:iconthebaneofhelios:
TheBaneOfHelios Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2016  Student Writer
OK, thank you for your advice! It was really helpful. Still, like many answers, they opened way for more question I needn´t an answer before Waaaah! 

The characters I use are some original race I created for a fantasy novel, it would be hard to give the readers a taste of their actual life if they don´t know how their life look like! it would be like trying to show some meticulously crafted computer code to someone from the medieval age. Or that´s what I´m fearing (Maybe I´m overreacting, I don´t know). If you need it, I can note you what is the chapter I´m working on if you need it, or supply you with whatever info I can provide.
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2016  Professional Writer
If you give us just a little bit of insight and just a few similarities, your audience can piece together things surprisingly well. Take Star Wars for instance, or Lord of the Rings. We don't know what Tattooine is, or a moisture farmer, or anything involved in the process of Luke getting off world. All we know is that he is an angsty teen like we've all been at some point, that he has an uncle who raised him, and that he had to do chores (even if we don't understand them). Similarly , we don't know what a hobbit it, we don't understand their customs, we don't understand Middle Earth or its customs and races at all. But we understand birthdays, and going away parties. So we simply accept what explanation is given to us and focus on the familiar while the unfamiliar is slowly revealed. 

Does you original race have any similarities to a human one? Do they value love, honor, hard work? Do they have any similar customs? What can you draw on to start off? If there is absolutely nothing, you may have to introduce a human character. Now you can either do that by introducing one that is as confused as we are, or you can create a Narrator (who is not really a character playing any sort of role in the story) who will sit back and explain things to your human audience as it becomes absolutely necessary.  
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:iconthebaneofhelios:
TheBaneOfHelios Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2016  Student Writer
OK, I got your point! Thanks for clearing it out!

And... this race in particular should not have too many similarities, but for the anthropomorphism. They don´t understand love (I think that is some way to make reproduction easier, btu if the reproduction is not necesary, no love needed), they think honor is just some restrain so on and so on... I love the idea of a narrator though, I could definetly use that and seems pretty easy to put into situation. Thanks for the advice, I´ll get to work on it!
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2016  Professional Writer
No problem :) (Smile) I'll link a tutorial that may help you with that. 

josephblakeparker.deviantart.c…
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:iconb1tterrabbit:
b1tterRabbit Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2016
Hmm...I don't really see how to apply this to my own plot bunny. It's a fairly complicated plot, where a seemingly innocuous side story reveals itself to be the main conflict, and the protagonist's closest ally ends up being the main antagonist....sort of.... The ally doesn't betray the protagonist to the antagonist party either, but rather creates a third party in the process of the betrayal (which as I said later on becomes the main antagonists). I don't really get how to apply this outline...
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2016  Professional Writer
You don't need to. This is for people who need or want a plot outline, and is actually part of a series for people to write a novel from scratch. 
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:iconb1tterrabbit:
b1tterRabbit Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2016
Oh I see! XD
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:icondeltaturtle:
Deltaturtle Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2016  Student General Artist
wow, this will really help me with my star wars fanfic :) thx for posting this!
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2016  Professional Writer
Glad to hear :) No problem!
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:icontacticalcorgi:
TacticalCorgi Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2016
I've hit a snag in trying to follow this.

If I have an ensemble cast as my protagonists, should I zero in on one member to illustrate what life was like before the story? Should I pick one based on how closely we follow them? Or choose the life that best represents of how things were before the story began?
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2016  Professional Writer
Pick the one that creates the most relevant and essential setup for the main plot. If you are doing a zombie story, for example, have your prologue follow the main character most closely related to the zombie apocalypse starting, whether that be a scientist who helped cause it, the person who was closest to the first breakout, the person who predicted it happening, etc... With your prologue, the main thing you want to do is to create that setup for the overarching plot. 
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:iconreishaterrin:
ReishaTerrin Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thinks I'm struggling on The Inciting Incident  Lol

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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2015  Professional Writer
Alright. What seems to be the problem?
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:iconreishaterrin:
ReishaTerrin Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
How many Inciting incidents are allowed?


I'll note you what i have since it will probably be easier. 
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2015  Professional Writer
sounds good, I will give it a look. 
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:iconreishaterrin:
ReishaTerrin Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you~ Happy new years!
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:iconcondor-morgan:
Condor-Morgan Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2015
I wrote a story for NANOWRIMO without an outline and now I am trying to examine the flaws in its structure.  Does the twelve-point outline work well for stories with multiple POV characters, or should a different style outline be chosen?  Also, should each character have his or her own outline, or do the twelve points represent the reader's path through the story, rather than the characters'?
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2015  Professional Writer
I've successfully used it for a story that had many POV characters, and I gave each protagonist their own outline. So give that a try. If it doesn't work, just keep playing with it until you arrive at something you like. 
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:iconhntpo:
Hntpo Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So basically an arc in a series is just II and III and it repeats throughout the whole series ?
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2015  Professional Writer
Depending on the series. I've seen shows (particularly crime ones) where they just use II and III like you said (sometimes not using some plot point or another). I've also seen ones that go through I, II, and III, every episode ... though these tend to be the 45-1hr long shows as opposed to the 22 minute ones. In the more exceptional series (like Daredevil) I've noticed I, II, and III, not only in each episode, but also in the season as a whole--with different episodes serving as different plot points for the season-long story arch. And I have to say that this strategy gives episodic storytelling a much more engaging dynamic. 
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:iconhntpo:
Hntpo Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I see, thanks ! :)
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:iconone-eyehitomi:
One-eyeHitomi Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2015  Student General Artist
I enjoy the way you relate story outlines to art and architecture; very helpful as always. :-) 
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2015  Professional Writer
I'm glad you enjoyed :)
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:iconhobbywriter:
HobbyWriter Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Just wondering, but this format doesn't always work, I think. But can the same be said for books that are split, like with "Game of Thrones" or "Lord of the Rings"?
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2015  Professional Writer
I'm sorry, but I don't understand your question. 
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:iconhobbywriter:
HobbyWriter Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
For example, the Lord of the Rings was originally one book, but it was split into three for the sake of the readers. Though I realized now that the individual books do not follow these plotlines, but you see them if you read the books in consecutive order. 

(Did'nt help, but I think I answered my own question :) )
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2015  Professional Writer
Haha, cool :)
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:iconspartans300:
Spartans300 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
In setting up the story, I usually like to start up with an established character and over time provide background information to the character, either to pass the time or as a way for past moments to have relevance to the present situation. I like to start off with an action sequence or a problem that the character must prepare to face. I guess it comes from watching a lot of movies and TV shows that do that sort of thing. 

The middle of the story looks pretty solid. The only comment that I really have is that the antagonist could be any number of things other than a character that the protagonist has to fight. It could be an organization, himself, an ideology, or even an entity. I understand choosing Spider-Man examples as they are ones that everyone is mostly familiar with or understand to some degree or another. 

The Ending also looks pretty good. The Epilogue could also be a finisher to the story, sometimes focused on a certain character or their perspective after the events of the story. This usually has "Epilogue" as the title of the chapter. 

These are all great in helping to set up a novel or a small fan fiction where the focus is either on one main character or group of characters, but not so much as a larger fan fic or something along the lines of GoT where you have multiple perspectives and characters and there isn't a set antagonist or protagonist. 
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:icongraeystone:
Graeystone Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2015
What's your take on 'going off the beaten path'? For example, being stuck on an outline for chapter 3 and deciding to work on chapter 5 until the problems with chapter 3 can be fixed.
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2015  Professional Writer
I actually do it on occassion, especially during early drafts that I know will change drastically in the future anyways. It's a good method of ensuring that you continue writing and do no get stuck. Though, obviously, I wouldn't recommend it for a final draft. 
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:iconleopold002:
Leopold002 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Simply put, though provoking.
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2015  Professional Writer
Thank you :) 
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:iconjoesmoisslowbro:
JoeSmoisSlowBro Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah, you just reminded me of my 10th grade English class. See, our teacher had a poster of William Shakespeare on the door. We started calling him "Billy Shakes" after learning he invented the word "swagger."
Also, Spiderman was an excellent example for this particular outlining exercise, as it's something everyone would probably know and it fits well with the outlining process.
I need to go through all of these at some point!
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:iconjosephblakeparker:
JosephBlakeParker Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2015  Professional Writer
Awesome, I'm glad you found it appropriate :) And yes ... good old Billy Shaekes, King of Swagger.
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