Your First Step to Succeed: How to Outline a Nonfiction Book

Your First Step to Succeed: How to Outline a Nonfiction Book

Whether you’re looking to write a book that is based on an event that took place during WWII or you’re looking to carve a story on the real-life personality who changed your perceptions about life, an outline will always come in handy. If you don’t have an outline, you won’t have a walkaway path for the book. Outline works as the main binding force or the roadmap for a writer to craft a story. Let’s find out Your First Step to Succeed: How to Outline a Nonfiction Book from scratch to pave the way for an exciting book-writing venture for you.

Defining an Outline

An outline is the base, foundation, or anything that acts as the launch pad to a successful book-writing journey. When a writer decides to write a book, they want to have certain steps to follow, some dos and some don’ts that they would want to get covered in the book. How to outline a nonfiction book is not much different from that. When you write a nonfiction book, it’s safe to say that the event you’re trying to cover through your words has happened sometimes in real life. So it’s clear that you have to create a roadmap that fits that story, and ensures that you’re not rushing through the process of book writing. Here are some benefits of having an outline for your writing journey. 

Perks of an Outline

The most important perk of having an outline ready when you are looking to go into a mammoth venture of book writing is it can save loads of time. You’ll always be a step ahead of your own story and will have clarity in your mind regarding what happens next in the story. So, if you want to save money while writing a nonfiction book, have a nonfiction book outline at your side to make it work.

Another important box that is ticked when you write an outline before you write the actual book is breaking the story into pieces, which may include chapters or segments, that will allow you to have a better understanding of the next potential step you want yourself to take while writing a nonfiction book. Since you now know a bit about the importance outline writing possesses, let’s now take a turn on how to write a nonfiction book outline.

How to write a Nonfiction Book Outline, a few steps.

Writing an outline can be a bit difficult for beginners and at times for pro writers as well, as having a story is sometimes not enough for you to be able to write a book that is nonfiction. Here’s a guide on how you write an effective outline for your nonfiction book and benefit from the result.

Step: 1 Stick To Your Idea

It sounds easy to say, that all you need to do is to follow your idea, but the thing is many writers may stray from their idea in the dram of finally writing a book, so all you need to focus on while writing a non-fiction book outline is to follow the idea, and maybe keep this inside your head that the idea is much bigger than a stack of papers. After, it was your idea that made you read the blogs and get information about writing. So keep it simple, and follow your idea.

Step: 2 Your Target Readership

Once you’ve created a story inside your head of writing a book, and finally stuck your head to the idea, your focus should now shift to your target audiences. Remember that you’re writing a nonfiction book’s outline and whatever information you’re going to put into that has to be true at a certain level. Keeping this, and your idea in your head will pave the way for you to get to know what sort of an audience you are targeting with your book. You can also use the 5W+H rule (Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How) to determine the storyline and what readers will attract. The rule would also help to create a general view of your story within your head, as in where you’re heading with the plot.

Step: 3 Drafting a Rough Skeleton

Once you’ve decided on your target audiences and made it clear about your idea, it’s your time to start building the rough structure of your book. This structure will strengthen the chances of a much more maturely written work of art and will help to get better at your readership. For example, you take up any book that is willing to teach you a thing or two about anything you are looking to learn, you see the index, and find the rough skeleton, or the chapters, and then open chapter-wise, you’ll see a sentence at the top of each chapter’s name. That is the rough skeleton you may need in your book because that one line will be the actual story a chapter possesses, which is summed up in a handful of words.

Step: 4 Researching for Facts

Since you’re working on a nonfiction book outline, you must get your facts and figures right. The main purpose of a nonfiction slick is to tell the masses facts and figures that they are unaware of and to bring those facts and figures to the table, you’ll need to work tirelessly, making sure that your book remains a genuine product of good writing and great research. Remember, a small error from your side while researching can make you lose a handful of readers for your book.

Step: 5 Place Your Events

Now, this is where you’d have your creative mind being pushed for a while. When you are looking to write a nonfiction book outline, you need to place events in the exact order that took place or set up a flashback in case there’s any in such a way that will ensure you’re going in the right direction in your outline writing for a nonfiction book. This will eventually help in carving the story more perfectly, as you’ll know the next event that is going to take place in your story.

Step: 6 Creating the Right Characters

Your story might be a nonfictional one but we all know for a fact that nearly all the stories that come out under the nonfiction shadow have an element or two that meets the fictional world. So when you are writing a story that can be a potential amalgamation of a real-life event and a spice of fiction, you need to place and create your characters precisely, to make sure that they’re finding their rightful place in the story.

Step: 7 Making a Routine to Write

Once you’ve ticked all the boxes regarding an outline, all you need to do is stick to your plan and start working on it daily, and make sure that you’re writing a certain number of words regularly to finish the writing process timely. Having a solid plan for your writing would act greatly, and sum up the need to write a non-fiction book’s outline, helping you in shaping the book effectively.

Step: 8 Seek Advice

You must seek advice from a professional book writer, the One who can guide you with the necessary formulae on how to write a book outline for nonfiction. Seeking professional advice will help you in ratifying the mistakes that you’ve made during the process, and would also help get better at the art, ensuring that the next time around you pick up your thoughts and try to carve a story out of it, you’d know what to do and what not to do.

Step: 9 Write, Edit, and Publish

Once you’ve done all the important things that are mentioned here, all you need to do is start writing and stick to the plan. Writing the book won’t be much of a task since you already have a story inside your head that was well-worked when you were creating an outline. So write, and once you’re done with writing, read it out, in case you find anything that you’ve missed or you may find any element that is added up and does not fit in your storyline. Then you’re going to have a Written, edited, final piece of well-crafted art in your hand that is ready to be published and shown to the world.


In the blog, you have read all the necessary dos and don’ts on how to write a nonfiction book outline. We started with the need for an outline, and how an outline has the potential to take your book writing journey to the next level. We also covered the necessary aspects you need to look at when you are writing a book’s outline. Remember, these tips and tricks are a general perspective on how you can carve a better outline, if there’s anything you think would be beneficial for your book’s outline, feel free to add as the more effort you put into doing your work, the more fruitful it will turn out to be for you.

Leave a Reply

Get Free Tips and Avail Exclusive Discounts

    You get full access to this sample paper.

    Get Free Tips and Avail Exclusive Discounts

      You get full access to this sample paper.