How to Plan and Outline Novels (Using Scrivener)

Learn the Step-by-Step "Story Beats" Process That Two Bestselling Writers Use To Publish 1.5 Million Words a Year
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Instructed by The Smarter Artist Business / Media
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  • Lectures 10
  • Contents Video: 2 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 9/2014 English

Course Description

In this course, Smarter Artist co-founder Sean Platt will show you the step-by-step process our 3-person bestselling author team uses to plan and outline over 2 million words per year of high-quality, reader-loved fiction without hassle, delays, or the frustration most writers face.

The most important thing any independent author must do to sell more books and make more money is to "write, publish, and repeat," getting new work to market fast. In this course, we'll show you how to get faster while making your stories richer, deeper, and flat-out better.

Through ten videos and just under 3 hours of content, you'll learn a pre-production process we call "story beats" -- a way of planning that combines the thoroughness of traditional outlining with the flexibility and high creativity of "seat of the pants and trusting the story" writing. Having the very best beats in place before writing will take the frustration out of daily writing because you'll always know your characters, their world, their motivations, and their conflicts. You'll know what they look like, how they act, and what they're up to.

Sean will show you this process using our favorite writing program: Scrivener. He'll show you what to put where, how to use images and the different sections to define your project, and how to show up at the desk tomorrow ready to kick butt and take names.

What are the requirements?

  • Scrivener software (not required for planning process, but recommended to get the most out of it).

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Plan your entire story from Day One starting with a no-fuss, stepwise outlining process ... but WITHOUT locking yourself in and cutting off creative expansion as happens with most outlining methods.
  • Learn how "casting" your characters the way Hollywood does will give you amazing shortcuts to understanding their personalities, appearance, and mannerisms.
  • Use "location scouting" (complete with online, image-based research) to effortlessly build your story's locations and world (even if your world isn't on Planet Earth).
  • Find your book's central nuggets by working "narrow to wide," beginning with a single, simple sentence.
  • Effortlessly craft a story summary, book description, and boiled-down "elevator pitch" with no extra work as you follow the process.
  • Use Scrivener's native organizational features to keep everything together and searchable, right where you need it whenever you require it.
  • See how the deepest stories can come from the very simplest of ideas -- and learn how you can make a great story from just about anything.

What is the target audience?

  • Authors who want to write better stories faster.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: An Introduction to Using Scrivener for Beats
16:40

In this introduction, Sean explains the reasons we use beats, how they help us write faster, and the general architecture of the entire system using Scrivener software.

Section 2: Synopsis to Outline
14:29

In this lecture we go over how to start with your story synopsis, and then progressively break the story down until you have a full outline for the entire book.

Section 3: Character Planning and Development in Your Outline
19:06

This module explains our method for planning characters and "casting" them the way Hollywood casts actors in movie roles. We'll take you through how we break down character development, how we source photos, how we build backstory, and more. (Video 1 of 3 in this module.)

09:01

(CONTINUED) - This module explains our method for planning characters and "casting" them the way Hollywood casts actors in movie roles. We'll take you through how we break down character development, how we source photos, how we build backstory, and more. (Video 2 of 3 in this module.)

12:03

(CONTINUED) - This module explains our method for planning characters and "casting" them the way Hollywood casts actors in movie roles. We'll take you through how we break down character development, how we source photos, how we build backstory, and more. (Video 3 of 3 in this module.)

Section 4: Scouting Locations for your Story
18:37

In this video Sean explains how to scout locations for your story, using real-world locations (or visual ideas from unreal worlds) as building blocks to create the world for your book to take place in.

Section 5: Story Construction and Writing Your Beats
15:20

In this module, we'll show you how to expand the story summary you wrote earlier into a fully fleshed-out set of story beats that will take you chapter-by-chapter through your book -- giving you a rough roadmap without locking you in to a rigid framework and allowing your story the freedom it needs to grow. (Video 1 of 3 in this module.)

13:17

(CONTINUED) - In this module, we'll show you how to expand the story summary you wrote earlier into a fully fleshed-out set of story beats that will take you chapter-by-chapter through your book -- giving you a rough roadmap without locking you in to a rigid framework and allowing your story the freedom it needs to grow. (Video 2 of 3 in this module.)

11:01

(CONTINUED) - In this module, we'll show you how to expand the story summary you wrote earlier into a fully fleshed-out set of story beats that will take you chapter-by-chapter through your book -- giving you a rough roadmap without locking you in to a rigid framework and allowing your story the freedom it needs to grow. (Video 3 of 3 in this module.)

Section 6: Further Learning Resources
04:31

This final video wraps up the course and provides "next steps" and places where you can find additional resources on self-publishing, writing, and more.

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Instructor Biography

The Smarter Artist, #1 Amazon Bestselling Authors, Podcasters, & Authorpreneurs

SEAN PLATT, JOHNNY B. TRUANT, AND DAVID W. WRIGHT (the Smarter Artist team) are the co-hosts of the top-rated Self-Publishing Podcast and the co-authors of the #1 Marketing bestseller Write. Publish. Repeat: The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success. Sean is also the author of Writing Online, the writing how-to that has helped thousands of writers. Together the trio have published well over 4 million words of popular fiction.

Sean, Johnny, and David run Sterling & Stone, a publishing company with six distinct imprints -- including The Smarter Artist, which shows authors and artists how to “get smarter faster.” As one of their first projects for The Smarter Artist, they launched Fiction Unboxed in 2014 -- a record-setting Kickstarter project in which Johnny and Sean wrote a full-length novel in 30 days, starting without any ideas or genre, in front of a live audience, sharing every detail of their process including story meetings, emails, and raw story drafts.

The novel birthed through Fiction Unboxed (The Dream Engine, first in the Blunderbuss/Alterra series) went on to spawn what the Sterling & Stone team calls "open-source fiction": an open story world in which any author may write and publish without requiring permission or paying royalties to the world's creators.

Sean and David are the authors of the groundbreaking #1 horror title Yesterday's Gone, the paranoid thriller WhiteSpace, the Available Darkness vampire thrillers, and the heart-wrenching novel Crash, as well as the traditionally published titles Monstrous and the Z series (Z2134 through Z2136).

In addition to The Dream Engine books, Johnny and Sean are the authors of the political sci-fi serial The Beam, the fantasy/western mash-up Unicorn Western books, and the literary mindbender Axis of Aaron, as well as many other titles. On his own, Johnny also writes the Fat Vampire series.

The Sterling & Stone team also writes for children under the Guy Incognito imprint, co-writes with and produces erotica author Lexi Maxxwell, and pens straight comedy at the “sitcoms on your e-reader” LOL imprint.

Johnny, Sean, and David host their trendsetting, boundary-pushing podcasts every week on YouTube, iTunes, and their two-posts-daily cornerstone indie author website, linked at the left.

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