Unlocking the Perfect Romance Novel: Using a Free Outline Template

Plotting a romance novel comes with its own unique set of demands. Crafting the journey of two individuals moving towards love requires a balance of character development and narrative tension. When looking at a ‘Romance Novel Outline Template’, structures can greatly differ but some elements remain. Discovering these elements can help you grasp the essence of a romance novel outline.

Three Act Structure in Romance

Popular among novelists in general, many romance authors adopt the ‘Three Act Structure’. A guidepost for your story, it breaks your novel into three defined sections; also known as acts.

    • Act 1: Here, your main characters are introduced, their external goals established, and the main conflict that hinders their relationship is laid out.
    • Act 2: Your main characters start developing feelings for each other, often complicated by internal struggles or external events.
    • Act 3: The characters reunite, overcoming their issues and offering the ‘happily ever after’ ending destined for them.
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The Hero’s Journey

Another popular outline for romance novels is the ‘Hero’s Journey’. This account of an individual’s progress from an ordinary world to extraordinary adventure resonates strongly in a romance plot. It maps out a character’s personal growth, internal conflict, and ultimate triumph – often alluding to their romantic relationship. A simple version of the Hero’s Journey could be outlined as below:

    • Ordinary World: Main character’s normal life is presented.
    • Call to Adventure: Main character’s life is disrupted, setting the stage for forthcoming events.
    • Refusal of the Call: Initial reluctance for change/ adventure.
    • Meeting the Mentor: Guided for the journey ahead by a wise figure.
    • Crossing the Threshold: Main character leaves their familiar world for the unknown.
    • Tests, allies, enemies: Character battles obstacles, makes allies, and encounters enemies.
    • Approach the Innermost Cave: Character gets ready to face their biggest fear.
    • Ordeal: The character confronts their greatest challenge.
    • Reward: After facing their fears, the character is transformed and awarded.
    • Road Back: Character takes steps to go back to their old life.
    • Resurrection: Ultimate high-stakes test of character for the transformed individual.
    • Return with Elixir: Character returns home, triumphant and changed.

The Character Driven Hero’s Journey

The ‘Character Driven Hero’s Journey’ is an evolved model emphasizing personal journey over a physical one. It combines traditional elements with a heightened focus on a character’s internal change. Broadly, its stages are:

    • Incomplete: Protagonist starts as lacking something vital.
    • Unsettled: Their stability is challenged.
    • Resistant: Protagonist resists change.
    • Encouraged: Pushed to accept change.
    • Committed: Makes a firm decision to change.
    • Disoriented: Struggles in an unfamiliar situation.
    • Inauthentic: Refuses to address internal flaws.
    • Confronted: Forced to address the flaw.
    • Reborn: Embraces change.
    • Desperate: Encounters unprecedented complication.
    • Decisive: Has to choose between what they want and what they need.
    • Complete: Returns after achieving their goal and metamorphosis.
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Each outline serves as a flexible blueprint for your romance novel. Remember, these structures are not concrete rules. Use them as guideposts in your own writing journey. Stay adaptive and creative, moulding the outline to fit your unique narrative. Most importantly, keep the essence of romance – the journey from solitude to love, alive in your writing.

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