Preptober Series Part 1: Where to Begin

Hello everyone! Welcome back to my blog! Or maybe I should be welcoming myself back…

Yup! I’m back! Feeling a lot better after a much needed break and ready to get back to posting (hopefully) helpful content for all of you.

Starting with a new series for this month! With this month being preptober, I thought I would do a four part series to help you with your outlining and preparing for NaNoWriMo. I love NaNo so much, it’s such an invigorating time for me and so encouraging to know that there’s tons of writers all trying to write a crazy amount of words. However, I’ve learned, the best way to survive NaNo is by having a solid plan. Even if you’re a discovery writer, I highly encourage you to give outlining a try, or maybe just plan out a few elements, to help you this next month as you’re pounding out thousands of words.

Where to Start

I used to be a discovery writer, still am to a certain extent. But it wasn’t that I was against outlining, but that I didn’t understand how. I had no idea where to start, what to do, or what the purpose of it even was. All I saw were the writers who wrote crazy outlines that turned out to be the length of a novella.

If that method works for you, that’s great! But it didn’t for me and it was discouraging in the beginning.

But then I began to realize, there are other ways to outline. You can outline minimally without ruining your creativity and with it still being beneficial in the writing process. Because that’s the whole purpose for an outline–to help you while you write.

How many times have you started writing and then gotten stuck in the middle of the scene? Oh, but what color is this guy’s hair? What should this character do here? What would he say in this instance? Should this event happen first or that one?

These questions and more can bog down the writing process if it doesn’t stop it completely. Too often, I found myself stopping in the middle of a scene so I could go back and decide how the order of events should play out. It can get frustrating. And it can all be avoided if you take the proper time to outline.

Now, as I’ve already said, every writer delves into the outlining process a little differently with varying intensity levels. You have to decide for yourself what works for you and how in depth you want to go. In this series of blog posts, I want to share with you my outlining process that is currently working for me. Please note that I seem to tweak this process for each novel that I plan and change it as I grow and find better methods. You can do the same with your process. But for now, let’s get started.

Your Premise

A concept and a premise are used interchangeably. They might have slight differences, but I’ve heard they’re the same thing. In this post, to avoid confusion, I’m going to call it a premise.

According to Google, the premise is the foundation of your story–that single core statement. A premise is anywhere from one to three sentences and states the root of the story in your head. The purpose of this is for you to be able to state clearly what your story is about.

You should know from the start what the point of your novel is. You should not be halfway through and be unable to answer what your story is about. And you should be able to state this in one to three sentences.

To use an example off of Google, here is the premise for Pride and Prejudice:

The daughter of a country gentleman and a rich aristocratic landowner must overcome the titular sins of pride and prejudice in order to fall in love and marry.

Boom. One sentence. It’s concise and states what the whole book is about. Obviously, a lot is left out. I mean, there’s the whole side plot with Lizzy and Jane and even Lieutenant Wickham! But those are exactly that: side plots. In your premise you want to focus on the main plot, the main story and characters, and write it down in one to three sentences.

A Synopsis

Once I have a premise thought up and written down, next I like to write a synopsis. You might think this is unnecessary, but let me explain to you how helpful it is to your writing process and to coming up with your whole outline.

For a synopsis, you have to write down everything that will happen in your novel from start to finish. No plot twists, no surprises, no leaving things out. In a synopsis you clearly state the events of your novel. That’s all there is to it.

This is a great start to your outlining process because it forces you to think through what is going to happen. You’re forced to think how it’s going to end, how it’s going to begin, and even everything that has to happen in the dreaded middle. Keep in mind that you are still early on in the outlining process, this synopsis does not have to be perfect. On the contrary, I can guarantee it won’t be. But remember, you can always rewrite this and perfect it later on. For right now, it’s merely trying to help you think through your entire novel.


This is how I start planning a new novel. Don’t overthink it and don’t make it difficult. Just sit down, and think about the story that’s in your heart. That’s all there is to it, really.

And at the end of the day, take a minute to bask in the beauty of the written word! It’s an amazing thing to be a writer and have the ability to weave words together in a way that can move other people. As my sisters are constantly telling me, writing is not something everyone is able to do, so don’t take it lightly!

Enjoy the newness of this story idea and fly with it!

Your turn!

Are you participating in preptober? Will you be writing a book in a month for NaNo? What is the premise of your story?

Blessings, Allyson


6 thoughts on “Preptober Series Part 1: Where to Begin

  1. Well, I am not doing preptober this year. #cupoverflowing 😉 the rest of my year is quite busy as it is, and my WIP is in an entirely different stage. But the best of luck to everyone participating!

    Liked by 1 person

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