How It Works


Connections are the relationships between the various Story Elements that are consistent throughout the story. Describe familial relationships, how the setting influences a character's mental state, or even how a motif feeds into a theme.
Beats are actions that move the story forward. Focus on what critical information is revealed instead of simply describing what happened.
Outlining Arcs and Characters is about defining them by their Connections and using Beats to capture how they develop throughout the story.  


In the Visualization, you can see the overall structure of the story. The size of the nodes is based on the number of Connections, Beats in Chapters, and places where the element drives a Beat.

Click on the element to quickly access their Connections. Select an element to connect it to, then describe the relationship.
From one writer to another

Outlining Tip #1

    Connecting characters to Events and TSMs is the quickest way to add depth to their personality. Be mindful of the key aspects of society that shaped the environment the characters grew up in. It may be details about how social status is structured, what growing up in a rural town was like, or how magic made life easy for them. The trick is to capture how these different elements affect the character, and dive deeper into their opinions on it. A character will be in harmony with certain things and in direct contrast to others. These nuances will make them come alive on the page.
Michael Green


Define an elements’s development by creating Beats, dragging them into the Chapters where they take place. Reorder the Beats to explore new ways to approach your element's development.


Specify which other elements drive each Beat. Remember that your protagonist should be driving most of your Beats.

Chapter Planner

The chapter planner is where you plan your Chapters by adding Beats to them. Reorganize chapters or move Beats to different Chapters to test out a different flow of your story.
Click the name of your Chapter to get to the Text Editor.

Story Elements

Move a situation forward in a specific order. Often a question is posed such as, "Will the main character achieve their goal despite a particular challenge?" Or a problem is presented and the implied question is, "Will the Main Character resolve the problem despite a particular challenge?"
The force that drives the story, and why the reader is emotionally engaged. Main characters also have an internal growth arc that progresses forward in a specific order. It's important to remember that characters grow by living through and making decisions along arcs. If you don't know how characters will react to the events of your story, then it is difficult to know how they will grow and change.
Events are best used for capturing larger moments that take place in the story. For example, it could be a festival, tournament, wedding, an important backstory event, or the idea of a scene that you want to capture before you know how it fits into the overall story.
Themes, settings, motifs
These are concepts that are consistent throughout the story, whether it is the world bible, a theme of "love conquers all", or symbolic imagery that repeats throughout the story.
Chapters are where the story takes place, and the way that the story is divided or organized.

Create as many of these elements as you need. They don't need to be fully fleshed out when you just starting to outline. We recommend starting with the elements you are the most excited about, the reason you are writing this story.

From one writer to another

Outlining Tip #2

    As you think about your characters and arcs, you have to decide where to begin the outlining process. Start with the arc that is most prominent in your mind's eye. What is the big question of your story? Whatever it is, it should be progressed in every chapter. Outlining this first will give your story a backbone for the other arcs to follow. Then repeat the arc outlining process for all the arcs you have created. If you haven't already, combine the different actions that happen in each arc into the summary for each chapter. As you move from chapter to chapter focus on how the arcs fit together vs just listing the different plot points. You should be able to read the summary as a cohesive snippet. Keep in mind that these summaries do not need to be perfect as they will likely change as you iterate over the story, but they will set a strong foundation for the narrative.
Michael Green


The Notes tab is in the right panel, you will find all the Notes you have created. If you enter a single Story Element, you will only see the Notes that are linked to that Story Element.
You can also create a new Note inside any Story Element’s visualization, and it'll be automatically linked to it. You can also link the new Note to another element.

Learn More

Check out our What To Do Next feature at the top to find Recommendations on how to improve your craft and outline skills.

Writing is a process. It is iterative by nature. Remember to have patience with yourself as you write, rewrite, learn, and adapt. We’ve all been through it, but now Lynit is here to be a companion along the way.