Outline, storyline and plot.

by Angelique
(Christchurch, nz)

Question: Please can you explain to me the difference between Outline, story line and plot.


Thank you

Answer: A plot is a series of events that make up a story. Usually these events are linked chronologically in a cause and effect sequence.

Simple stories, or tales, may have just one sequence of events which can easily be plotted on a straight line.

Other stories are more complex and may have several different sequences of events happening simultaneously, such as subplots or character arcs. So writers may speak of stories having multiple plot lines or story lines.

An outline is simply a summary of a story's events which writers create as a guide to help them when writing a full-length story. The outline will not include actual scenes, dialogue, minor events, or description. Instead, these will be fleshed out in the actual manuscript.

For some writers, an outline may only be a one-paragraph summary of the basic idea for the story. Other writers may write longer outlines or may include extensive notes or background material.

The advantage of creating an outline before you write your story is that it helps you spot problems with the plot before you've spent months writing a complete draft.

Of course, some writers consider the first draft of their story to be their outline (knowing that they will revise it extensively later on).

Comments for Outline, storyline and plot.

Click here to add your own comments

May 30, 2017
Thank you
by: Angelique

Your explanation has help me a lot. Thank you

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Plot Invite.


Proud to be one of the...


 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook


NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles


"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards



"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero