The One Page Novel Plot Formula

The One Page Novel Plot Formula

Here are a couple of free blank templates I’ve developed to use with the One Page Novel Plot Formula. The first novel outline template is a Google Docs spreadsheet, and the second is for Scrivener. I’ve also provided some headers that can be used in Google Keep!

Novel Outline Template – Scene Spreadsheet

Novel Outline Template - The One Page Novel - a simple, memorable structure for novelists.

View in Google Docs
Please note, you don’t need to request access to this document. Go to ‘File > Download as…’ to download the spreadsheet, or ‘File > Make a Copy…’ to copy it to your Google Drive.

While I love the tactile three-dimensionality of the One Page Novel format, eventually it’s necessary to transfer your outline from paper to computer. For those of you who prefer a more linear approach to plotting, the spreadsheet allows you to enter a short description of each scene, and update their word counts as you write.

  1. The sections are in story order. The numbers before the name of each stage represent the plotting order (so, the Resolution comes first, then the Stasis, etc.)
  2. I’ve included a short summary of each stage to jog your memory, and some sample scenes to get you started.
  3. The spreadsheet has a few extra columns that allow you to plot for multiple main characters side by side, so that you can see when each one hits a particular stage.
  4. If you’re switching between different POVs, you might want to add another column to track which character is assigned to which scene.
  5. If you fill in the time/date column, you will have a useful overview of your timeline.
  6. I’ve entered sample scene word counts for NaNoWriMo (to total 50,000), to give you some idea of how the spreadsheet works, but you can update the scene word counts as you go and the totals will be calculated automatically.

Plot Outline Template – Scrivener

Scrivener Template

The One Page Novel Scrivener Template (ZIP)
To use the template unzip it, then go to ‘File > New’. In the dialog, click ‘Options > Import templates…’. Browse to template file and add it. The template should be available in the ‘Fiction’ section whenever you need it.

Scrivener is one of my favourite apps ever, and if you use it for your writing, I would recommend that you download this Scrivener novel outline template. It includes all of the same information as the spreadsheet novel template, with the advantage that you won’t have to update the word counts manually! Once again I’ve used the NaNoWriMo 50K for the total, but please adjust as your story requires.

  1. The outliner view gives you a good overview of your scene and stage word counts, while the corkboard view allows you to quickly look through your scene descriptions. You can turn on synopses in the outliner too, but I find it a bit cluttered.
  2. You can choose to set up the stages in separate folders, or, if you want to set up your own folder hierarchy, use the label colours to assign each scene to a stage.
  3. I haven’t set up meta-data fields for different characters or subplots, but you can easily add them yourself, and then view them as columns in the outliner.
  4. I’ve also included four of my writing worksheets that I find particularly helpful with plotting. You will find them in the ‘worksheets’ folder.
  5. If you need to learn how to use Scrivener for outlining, writing, editing or even blogging, this is the best course on the subject.

Google Keep Headers

Google Keep Headers

The One Page Novel – Google Keep Headers (ZIP)

Google Keep is a simple app for managing lists. If you frequently use Google Docs, it can be helpful to set up a label with a note for each One Page Novel stage, with scene ideas that you can refer to as you write.

Instructions:

  1. Download and unzip the header images.
  2. Go to Google Keep and create a new label. You might want to name it something like “One Page Novel” or “scene ideas”.
  3. Add a new note. (Note: if you want the sections to appear in story order, you may want to add them in reverse (i.e. Resolution, Power, Defeat, Shift, Bolt, Quest, Trigger, Stasis).
  4. Click the “Add Image” icon and navigate to the header image you want.
  5. Write your scene ideas or synopses in the note for each stage. You can see the templates above for examples, and if you’re enrolled in The One Page Novel Course, you can find many more scene ideas in the Genre Cheatsheets.
  6. I recommend clicking on the “three dots” icon for each note and selecting “Show Checkboxes”.
  7. Open a new or existing document in Google Docs.
  8. Go to Tools > Keep Notepad. You should now see your Google Keep notes in the Google Docs sidebar. If you want to see only your scene ideas, click the magnifying glass icon at the top of the sidebar and enter the label name you chose.
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