How to Review Your Plot: Using Your Notes and Outline at Revision

You’re nearing the finish line and feel like you need a final push forward to reach completion. You’ve slogged your way through the long, seemingly interminable middle, and your energy has flagged. Writers often experience self-doubt in this stage (worrying that it won’t come together well), and some have issues with finishing things. Your...

An Outline for Pantsers

Outlines based on set pieces and dramatic scenes, for instance, can cause your book to feel like a hopscotch of mandatory moments. But an outline of antagonism could help even pantsers.

Use a Spreadsheet to Outline Your Novel

If you prefer to write from a detailed outline, an ideal organizational tool may be hiding in plain sight on your computer. View a full-sized version of the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet author Michael J. Martinez used to plot out his novel MJ-12: Inception (as explained in the article “Chart It Out” in the October...

The Utility (and Trappings) of the Novel Outline

I’ve been selling books for more than fifteen years and learning to write novels even longer. Of all the author readings and Q&A sessions I’ve hosted (and attended), one of the most common questions among beginning writers, even curious readers, is this: Do you start with an outline? You’ve heard the pros and cons....

How to Outline (the Easy Way) Like Janet Evanovich

Every week, I spelunk into the Writer’s Digest archives to find the wisest, funniest, or downright strangest moments from our 92 years of publication. Today: Here’s to Janet Evanovich (and that we all might one day hit it as big as Janet Evanovich). The author of the bestselling Stephanie Plum series celebrates her birthday this Sunday, so I...

The Roeder Report:
Who Needs an Outline

Wherever I go, everyone wants to know how I assemble the columns they occasionally skim once they’ve finished Writer’s Digest’s useful content. Well, I describe my writing process like this: “Writing is like driving. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip—what the hell was that? Did I...

Tune In: 23 Best Podcasts for Writers

This year, to accompany our annual list of 101 Best Websites for Writers, we decided to put together a list of what we think are the best podcasts for writers. Here are our favorites—let us know if you have any additional suggestions!

New Territory: ‘The Nightingale’ Author Kristin Hannah Discusses Her New Alaska-Set Novel

The latest from bestselling 'The Nightingale' author Kristin Hannah transports readers to remote 1970s Alaska. In this interview from the February 2018 issue of Writer’s Digest—including outtakes that didn't appear in the magazine—Hannah discusses the real-life influences that inspired 'The Great Alone,' and preaches the power of a tight-knit writing circle.