How To Outline Chapters: 7 Helpful Steps

You might have to give a summary of the book's main points with a couple of chapter summaries. You must capture the key plot points, whether you are preparing an outline for a fictional book or non-fiction chapter. Learn how to write a simple outline for a book. This is an important part of writing.

Before you begin writing your first chapter, you should create a solid outline. Here we explain how to build a novel and discuss the key points of a recent book. Below, we will examine a few key points.

Materials Required

It is important to have some materials before beginning the outline process. These materials include:

  • Pencils and pencils are among the writing materials available.
  • Use highlighters to draw attention to important areas of your outline
  • A computer or piece of writing can be used to draw your outline
  • Scrivener can be used to fill in templates and track subplots.
  • Internet connection for searching online

Once you've got these materials, it's time to start planning your chapter.

Step 1: First, read the first paragraph

Reading the first sentence is a good way to start. The first para should include a brief summary of what information will be covered in the chapter. You can get an impression of the chapters main character and topics covered.

While reading the first line, you should take your time. If you skim the first paragraph of the chapter, you will miss important details. If you read the first sentence too quickly, it will be hard to understand the context of the entire chapter. Save yourself time by reading slowly.

Step 2: Read the last paragraph in the chapter

The paragraph that follows will surprise you. It is crucial to summarize the main conclusions that the author will make from the chapter. If there are questions you want answered from the paragraph before, they will most likely be answered in the paragraph after.

It will be easier to identify the structure of your story. You can think of a chapter like a narrative, with the first paragraph and the last paragraph acting as the beginning and conclusion. You now know the direction of the story, even though there may be some subpoints along the way. You will find it easier to finish the outline by writing your own words.

Step 3: Write down the subheadings

Next, you will need to write down the subheadings. There are subheadings in not all books. You can still use subheadings if the book you're reading is nonfiction, a research report, or a text. Roman numerals may be used to label each subheading. This would be the best way to view your subheadings. You can proceed to the next stage if your book is fiction and does not contain subheadings.

Step 4: Read each paragraph's topic sentence

The next step is to read each paragraph's topic sentence. These topic sentences will be very helpful in filling out the rest of your outline. You should read each topic sentence and then determine how it fits into your outline.

How, for example, can the topic sentences be used to create a map? They may contain useful information and act as a guide for the remainder of your journey. You should be able link the topic sentences with subheads in a book. It's okay if you can't. The topics sentences are best written down in your own language. Use your interpretation to connect the rest.

Step 5: Read every paragraph to the end.

After reading the paragraphs, read their last sentences. Write the conclusion for each paragraph under the topic sentence and subheading you listed in the outline. The final sentence should be in support of the first paragraph. Filling in the last phrase will give you a better sense of how each chapter unfolds, why the topic sentences are important, and what the chapter is about.

You can put a star or a mark next to the chapter in your book, or on your outline, if it is unclear. If you want to highlight a chapter, mark it with a starred or make a note in your outline or book. You must concentrate on the paragraph you have highlighted in your outline as you read through each chapter. You can then see how it fits into the rest of your chapter. If you're still unsure, you can ask someone to help you.

Step 6: Read through the chapter

It is now time to read the entire chapter. The chapter should go faster once you have finished outlining. When reading the actual chapter, it is important to first focus on a few crucial points. These include:

  • Pay attention to any terms that you may have forgotten in your outline. It is important to include the terms into your outline. Place these terms into the paragraph that corresponds.
  • Include characters in your outline that appear in the chapters. It is important to explain how they relate to the other topics.
  • When you are drafting your outline, mark any changes in the points of view.

The outline is now ready for review. Make sure that your outline accurately reflects what you read.

Step 7: Mark sources for further reading

Before finalizing your outline, it is worth noting down some sources to be read further. You may not need to do this when reading fiction. However, if you read a book that is non-fiction, a text book or a research document, you should include some sources. This can help you understand where information comes from. A little extra context is helpful.

Reading is a Method of Learning

You can create your outline in a variety of ways. If you're flexible in how you construct or write your outline, you may find one method is better for certain books. It's possible to use different methods of outlining for different genres. This method is the most thorough and time-consuming. This is an outline.

To create a solid outline, you must follow a specific process. You might want something more flexible. You may also want to use an outliner in order save a little time. A second option is to read each chapter more quickly. You will not read the chapter in a careless manner. This method also requires you to follow some steps. These include:

Scan the chapter

You want to extract the most important information. Focus on the main objectives of each chapter. If you're reading about the Revolutionary War, for example, concentrate on the major events. It's not important to focus on the shoes that the people wore, but rather the names and dates. Scanning is used to identify which materials belong in your outline.

Concentrate on the introduction and conclusion

While reading the chapter, you should pay particular attention to the introduction as well as the conclusion. They will serve as a guide for the author to find the most important information. You should include the key points in your outline.

Write down Your questions

As you read through the chapter, you may have some questions. Write down any questions you may have. You should ask the question when you read through the chapter again. You could even highlight the question in your outline, leaving a space for an answer. Then, as you read through the chapter, the blank will be there for you to fill.

Maximize your Outline

Having created your outline, it is important to maximize its use. Here are some tips to remember:

Regularly review the outline

The outline must be reviewed regularly to ensure that it works well. If you want your outline to work well, you should review it regularly. You might also want to review the outline for 10-15 minutes before going to bed. This will help you to retain the information.

The outline may help you to understand complex issues which were not apparent when the outline was first written.

You can customize your outline to meet your needs

Then you can customize it to suit your needs. It is especially useful if the template you were given by your teacher does not suit you. For instance, you may want to ask others who have been working on similar material. They may have a better interpretation that you can use for your own study.

The Right Environment for Study

You must also ensure that your study environment is conducive to learning. You can, for example:

  • Would you like to hear music in the background? Would it distract you?
  • Microsoft Word is a good electronic outline program. Do you prefer to study with a printed outline or an electronic one?
  • Do you like to study at home? Do you study better in your room?

The best way to ensure your success is to position yourself and your outline.


  • tenleylancaster

    Tenley Lancaster is a 34-year-old educational blogger and student. She enjoys writing about topics related to education, including but not limited to student motivation, learning styles, and effective study techniques. Tenley has also written for various websites and magazines, and is currently working on her first book. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and traveling.