Free Writing Template | 30 Chapter Outline

This is a text version of the 30-chapter outline originally presented in this article. Since not everyone uses Scrivener, I thought I’d make the text available to the masses by blogging the outline here. Enjoy! Now write something amazing!


MS Word .DOCX Format

Special thanks goes to Instagram user writerlydosageofinspiration—an effort by Lelia Strong at The Writer’s Block—the 30 Days/30 Chapters pages, as found somewhere in the NaNoWiMo forums. With her help, I was able to get my hands on clean copies of this simple yet powerful outline.

For my Free Scrivener Template, click here!

  1. Intro to MC and normal life | Who is the main character (MC)— place, time, world? Who are the MC’s existing supporting characters (not necessarily the ones from 13)
  2. I know what I want | What does MC want in life—goal, dreams?
  3. I’m getting what I want | What’s the MC’s plan, how’s it happening right now?
  4. Inciting/devastating/life changing incident | MC’s plan is ruined by something outside his/her control.
  5. I’m not getting what I want | MC takes in/processes what’s happened, reacting emotionally
  6. Why did this happen | MC examines their process and consider how to get back up/to normal
  7. Enter exotic/new/different world/place/path | Because of whatever happened in 4, and because they can’t do 6, the MC is thrown into an exotic/different world/place/path
  8. I wanna go home | MC is in shock, wanting to trying to get back to the old world/place/path
  9. I can’t go home | MC comes to the conclusion that they can’t go back, so they look around
  10. Woah, Wait | MC becomes distracted by the new (world/place/path) surroundings, then remembers their goal
  11. Enemy/antagonist enters | MC discovers the new enemy/antagonist that will keep them from their goal here
  12. What now | MC is depressed about enemy/antagonist, personal goal, but wonders what to do
  13. This may work | MC explores, makes friends—some maybe unwillingly. MC considers alternate options for goal
  14. This isn’t so bad | MC has accepted the new world, the friends, the goals— they enjoy themselves
  15. Enemy/antagonist strikes | The enemy/antagonist threatens their new world/personal goal/something
  16. Main character fights | They recover and the MC decides s/he won’t stand for this
  17. Who’s with me | MC and supporting characters band together to take a stand
  18. Gear up | They plan and prepare for journey/battle/some stand, considering what they know
  19. On the Road | They push through, band together, solve problems, put aside differences
  20. Enemy Plays | The enemy/antagonist plays at their weak points, threatening their bond and stand
  21. We can do this | They come through feeling beaten, but band together again and agree to push forward
  22. Push | They push themselves to be the best they can be and continue on toward the final
  23. The enemy’s/antagonist’s lair | They arrive at the enemies’ front yard, planning, training, observing
  24. Crisis! | They move their plans to action and things don’t go as planned—this is their lowest point
  25. What went wrong | MC considers their fault, discovering it was their first problem
  26. Can’t give up | They make their plan for their final direct effort to take down the enemy/antagonist
  27. Climax | They put this final plan into action, it seems to be going well
  28. We can do this | They almost are in shock at their success, continue using through, in a daze/awe
  29. Victory! | They defeat, save, and/or reach their final goal, ultimately being victorious. Notable lesson learned
  30. Resolution | Wrap up the loose ends, MC goes home/review lesson learned, reconcile relationships

Basic Elements Required To Get Started

  1. Main Character (MC) (strengths and weaknesses, critical fault) and his/her place/time/world
  2. The MC’s Goal
  3. The incident that impedes the goal
  4. A new or altered place/time/world (resulting from 3)
  5. Supporting Characters (strengths and weaknesses)
  6. The Enemy or Obstacle
  7. Supporting Enemy or Obstacle Characters and his/her/its place/time/world