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Writing a Book Outline

December 8, 2006
ABDC Enterprises
One of the more important steps on your journey to writing a book is writing a book outline. This is also one of the most overlooked steps, as nobody likes to do the prep work, but everyone loves to write. Taking the time to write a book outline, however, can mean the difference between writing a high quality book and writing a book that winds up in the bargain bin at the local Barnes and Noble.

The book outline is important for several reasons. First and foremost, writing a book outline will keep your writing process focused and organized, so that your book doesn’t become one of those rambling tomes that bore the hell out of everyone. Second, writing a book outline will allow you to see the forest through the trees. Often, taking a step back and reviewing your book outline will allow you to get back on track when you find yourself stuck on a particular part of the book.

There are a couple of ways you can write your book outline. The first is familiar to nearly everyone, as it is the outlining process taught in every grade school in the country. You know the one, Roman Numeral I, capital letter A, B, etc… This is a very simplistic book outlining method, but it is also very powerful because it is easy to understand.

The second, more modern approach to writing a book outline is called mind-mapping. In this process, you write the central idea of your book in a circle in the middle of the page. You then write the central idea of each chapter on a branch extending out from that circle. Then, you write sub-branches with major points to include in each chapter. Repeat the process for each chapter on a separate page, with your chapter central idea as the middle circle. This approach to writing a book outline has the advantage of being a more visual process than the simple outline.

Whichever method you choose for writing a book outline, just make sure that you do indeed write one. You will find that with a bit of thought organization using a book outline, your writing process will go much faster and be much higher quality. Before you know it, your book will be done, and you will thank yourself for taking the time to write a book outline.

Allen Bohart is a part time writer and full time writing enthusiast. For more writing tips and information visit Writing A Book.
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Allen Bohart is a fishing fan, and enthusiastic writer for about any subject that interests him. He is also co-owner of, a site for and about fishing enthusiasts of all levels.