How to Write a Chapter by Chapter Outline

When you send a novel or non-fiction book to a publisher, you may want to send a chapter by chapter outline of your book. Outlines help publishers view the whole book without reading every word. Write a chapter by chapter outline by following these hints.

Read each chapter individually before writing the outline for that chapter.

Pick out the main points of each chapter. If you have trouble finding the main idea, read your first and last paragraphs. The first sentence is probably your topic sentence.

Reread the chapter and write point form notes as you go. Make sure you include any subheadings in your chapter. Include all main points and main characters in a novel.

Write a short synopsis of your whole book at the beginning of the outline. Keep it short, about a paragraph long.

Follow the synopsis by the title of chapter one. Write two or three sentences about the chapter from your point form notes. Include all main points. Write them in the order they appear in the book.

Write similar sentences for each chapter. Keep the chapter summaries short and concise. The reader wants to scan the chapters for the summary not read all the details of the book.

Use lots of white space between chapters so the outline is easy to read. Use larger print of bold text for chapter titles.

Try a ready-made outline like the one you used in school. Use roman numerals for the title of each chapter. Use capital letters for the subheadings or points under each chapter. Follow this outline when you write your chapter by chapter outline.


Use Microsoft Word to outline your chapters. Make sure you number each chapter.

Don't leave anything out. Publishers don't want surprises when they read the book.

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