Finding good info on outlining

Question: where to find good info on outlining?@art1032

Answer: The Art & Craft of Fiction: A Practitioner’s Manual and The Art & Craft of Story: 2nd Practitioner’s Manual.

I’m not being flip, either. I devoted the biggest part of the biggest divisions of my books to plotting. You know why? Because you can be the most brilliant wordsmyth in the world, and if you don’t know how to tell a story nobody will read your novel.

This wasn’t always the case. Virginia Woolf blew the whole central section of To the Lighthouse on what happens in an empty house. Guess what happens in an empty house?—that’s right. NOTHING! But people read it, anyway, partly because she was a very big figure in the very small London literary scene and partly because she was a meticulous craftsperson. And To the Lighthouse is still being taught today for the sake of both her craft and the characters she created for the first and third sections. I’d bet good money, though, that 75% of the students assigned to read it skip right over that central section as soon as they catch on that it’s boring.

I also devoted that much of my books on The Art & Craft of Fiction and The Art & Craft of Story to plotting because my favorite canonical books on writing—Flannery O’Connor’s Mystery and Manners, John Gardner’s On Becoming a Novelist, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird—really aren’t very helpful that way. I wanted writers who love great books on craft for their voice and clarity and insight to get that while also learning how to outline a good plot.

And, for the record, nobody I have ever read addresses the issue of Faux Resolution. I made that term up for a basic, essential step in plot that I saw crop up again and again and again in the books I was analyzing.

You’re welcome, good people.