Today, we’re going to introduce you to a friend. Well, two friends. One of our friends, and one of your new best friends. Our friend is Ally Bishop of Upgrade Your Story. Your new best friend is outlining.

Authors tend to fall into one of two camps. Plotters or pantsers. A plotter outlines. A pantser doesn’t. They write “by the seat of their pants.” Now, if you can do that, and do it well, that’s awesome. But very few people can. And a lot of people hate outlining, because their concept of it involves bullets and numbering and all of those dry, boring things we all learned in school.

Well, outlining doesn’t have to be like that. Outlining can actually be easy, fun, and quick. We were fortunate that Ally took the time to show us her outlining method recently, and it’s made a huge difference. Patricia outlined two books in less than an hour. Samantha is off outlining right now.

An outline doesn’t have to involve all of the gritty details of your book. All it needs, at its most basic form, is the key plot points and when they occur. Outlining will help you see when you only have a single plotline (which can be pretty boring) or when you have way too many plotlines (which can be confusing). Outlining can help you hit all of the peak tension points. And a good outline can show you when you get off track.

Outlines aren’t intended to be these hard, inflexible things that never change. There are times your characters will take over and demand that you take the left path instead of the right. They’ll throw obstacles in your path. A good, flexible outlining method can accommodate these changes and still help keep you on track.

Do we have you intrigued yet? Well, we’re not a fan of auto-play audio in blog posts, so just imagine a drumroll. We’d love for you to check out Ally’s visual outlining method. She has an overview with downloadable examples on her website. Make sure you check out the examples. We didn’t truly understand the brilliance of her method until we saw it put into action with the examples.

And then outline like the wind! It’ll help take your writing to the next level and help you write even faster! Go now!