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Camp Care Package: An outline for writing your outline

Your daily Camp Care Package is brought to you in partnership with We Need Diverse Books. Author Sona Charaipotra brings us this week's Camp Care Packages:

When you begin to plan, start small! Then let it snowball. I admit, my longest outline was a hefty 40-plus pages. But you don't have to go that far to get yourself on the road to a happy, fulfilling Camp NaNo experience. Even a skeleton outline will do as long as it keeps the story going. Here's what I do to get moving:

  1. Start with your single sentence elevator pitch.
  2. Expand that one sentence into three: beginning, middle, end.
  3. Expand those three sentences into three paragraphs for beginning, middle, and end, adding details to each section.
  4. Break those three paragraphs into multiple paragraphs for each section, adding even more detailsand turning those details into potential scenes.
  5. Group the scenes (and use flash cards if you want to, for easy movement) into paragraphs of action, which then magically become chapters!
  6. Voila, you should now have a skeleton outline featuring three sections of multiple paragraphs outlining your chapters by beginning, middle and end.

How do you organize your story ideas? Share your thoughts with Sona, or thank her for today's #CampCarePackage!

Camp Goings-On

  • Participate in a Tweet Chat with Sona and our other Camp Counselors! Follow the #CampNaNoAdvice tag on Twitter next Wednesday, July 5, at 10 am PDT to ask our Counselors your writing questions.

Today's Prep Challenge

Take 5-10 minutes to free write about your project in new or strange way: Scrawl your thoughts on construction paper in purple marker, close your eyes and write outside the lines, or draw your plot in pictograms. When you're done, choose the bits that stand out most to you or were the most fun to jot down, and make them the central points of your outline.

Sona Charaipotra

Sona Charaipotra is not a doctor—much to her parents’ chagrin. They were really hoping she’d grow up to take over their pediatrics practice one day. Instead, she became a writer, working first as a celebrity reporter at People and (the dearly departed) TeenPeoplemagazines, and contributing to publications from the New York Times to TeenVogue. These days, she spends a lot of time poking plot holes in her favorite teen TV shows—for work, of course. She’s the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company with a decidedly diverse bent, and the co-author of the YA dance dramas Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces. She’s also proud to serve as the head of content for the non-profit We Need Diverse Books.

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