If you’re looking for easy outlining tools, you may be aware of apps like Trello. But have you considered using presentation tools? They create excellent outlines for your projects.
Moreover, they’re easy to use; many apps offer free versions. Apps like Google Slides and Visme are free. You may already own a presentation app: Keynote is available on Macs, and PowerPoint on PCs.
These apps can create storyboards for your fiction writing as well as outlines for your nonfiction projects.
Easy outlining with visual presentation tools may help you to conquer procrastination
Do you procrastinate when planning projects? I do, especially when it comes to creating outlines, whether for fiction or nonfiction.
I start a new Scrivener file for a project and before I know it, I’m bored. My mind’s wandered off to my task list, or I check my email.
You may find, as I do, creating outlines using a presentation app keeps your logical left brain busy, while your creative right brain is intrigued by the pretty colors and design options…
And before you know it, you’ve outlined several chapters, painlessly.
Easy outlining: storyboard your fiction in minutes
Physical index cards are great for outlining projects. You can carry a stack of cards with you and scribble on a card whenever you get an idea.
Outlining with a presentation app is similar to using index cards. Each slide is a card.
For example, here’s the start of a storyboard for a mystery novel; I used Google Slides.
I start a new project by creating chapters, as many as I think I’ll need; usually 15 to 20 for a novel.
- I mark the 25% point. That’s the end of the novel’s setup phase. (Chapter 5, if there are 20 chapters.)
- Next, I mark the midpoint. (Chapter 10, if there are 20 chapters.)
These two points, at 25% and 50%, are the major turning points of the novel. For me, they’re the most work. After the midpoint, most novels tend to roll along to the climax without much hassle.
After you’ve created a slide for each chapter, you can add text to each slide; a bullet point for each scene in the chapter.
Want to flesh out a scene, adding more detail? Create a new slide under the relevant “chapter” slide.
Export your outline to your word processor
Most presentation apps can save a presentation as a text file and PDF. I like saving to both: text so I can drag the text file into Scrivener, and PDF, so I can keep the file open while I’m writing.
If you find creating outlines challenging, try using a presentation app. You may find that you’ve discovered a wonderful tool for easy outlining.
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If you think you can't outline, you're wrong. You can create wonderful outlines which work for you: write more, and publish more.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.