The Inside Outline: A Two-Part Workshop, with Susanne Dunlap

The hardest part about writing a book-length manuscript is thinking on multiple levels at once and keeping everything organized in your head and on the page. Writers have to make sure their plot makes sense and creates the necessary narrative drive, and that their characters follow a satisfying arc of change. Some authors—plotters—make detailed plot outlines that plan out action but leave the character arc to evolve on its own. Others—pantsers—rely on their gut and storytelling instincts and hope for the best.

But there is a third technique that can help both pantsers and plotters see the shape and trajectory of their manuscripts and identify problem areas they might not have noticed. It’s called the Inside Outline.

This powerful tool, developed by Jennie Nash (book coach to multiple bestselling authors), will transform how you think about your project. It goes beyond the question of structure and plot to help you map out what really moves your story along: what it all means to your protagonist, scene by scene. In this workshop (taught over two consecutive Saturdays), you’ll be able to start tying the external, plot-based events of your story to the internal, emotion-based truths that inform it. You’ll be able to share your work and get feedback so you can go forward and complete the entire picture of your book. This workshop is great for both writers who like to outline and writers who don’t. It’s ideal if you’re just starting a manuscript, are partway through your draft, or are about to launch into a revision.

The beauty of this tool is that it works for both pantsers and plotters, and can be used at the beginning of your project when all you’ve got is an idea, in the middle when you’ve written yourself into a corner, and at the end, when you’ve got a completed manuscript but something isn’t working quite right. In this workshop, writers will create their own Inside Outline and receive personalized feedback. Once you are familiar with this technique you’ll never look back!

This 2-session workshop is part of the Blueprint Your Book series, which is designed to help writers stack the building blocks of their book in a way that provides structure while allowing for plenty of space to modify and hone as they write. 

Saturday, June 11, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. & Saturday, June 18, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($150)

Susanne Dunlap is the author of ten historical novels for adults and teens. Her young adult novel The Musician’s Daughter was a Junior Library Guild selection and a Bankstreet Children’s Book of the Year, and it was nominated for the Missouri Gateway Readers Prize and the Utah Book AwardHer novels Listen to the Wind and The Spirit of Fire are the first volumes of a medieval trilogy for adults, The Orphans of Tolosa. Listen to the Wind is a finalist for the Chaucer Awards for Pre-1750 Historical Fiction and a Distinguished Favorite in the NYC Big Book Awards. Susanne has a PhD in music history from Yale University and is an Author Accelerator Advanced Certified Book Coach.