Novel Outline Template

By very, very, very popular demand, here’s a PDF download of a novel outline template. You have been asking for one for years, but the closest I’ve ever written is this short article on a novel synopsis. Well, I’ve rectified that today!

You can also grab it directly via this Google Drive link. (To use the document in your own Google Drive, simply make a copy of it by going to the File menu, then to “Make a copy”. You won’t be able to edit the original because I want everyone to have this template.)

novel outline template
Fill in this template to start charting your own novel outline. It’s good stuff!

To download the PDF version of this file, please click here: Novel Outline Template

Writers want to see examples of a novel outline template because there are so many ways to achieve this. What goes into a novel outline? How do you format it? This is certainly one way to organize an outline, but there are many other writers and writing teachers who have put together comprehensive advice and their own novel outline templates. (Two of my favorites are Fool Proof Outline and Outlining Your Novel).

Start here and see where it takes you. Most of my readers know that I’ve been teaching the concept of interiority for years, and so this outline goes into character arc a lot, not just plot arc. I think it’s the best of both worlds, but would love to hear your reactions in the comments when you use it!

As a freelance editor, I do the novel outline edit all the time. Do all the hard thinking ahead of time. Kick the tires of your idea. Pressure test your plot and character arcs. I can do one or multiple rounds to make sure you have a road map for your future draft nailed down before you sit down to write. This is honestly one of my favorite services to do because we can anticipate a lot of issues ahead of time and save you so much revision heartache.

 

 

Hiring Executive Assistant!

Our admin support is graduating college and leaving the nest, so I’m looking for a dedicated, hard-working, fun, and energetic executive assistant for me as I manage clients, projects, and launch two new businesses this year. Interested in helping Mary Kole Editorial and Good Story Company thrive, and thriving with us? Read on!

Look at how much fun we’re having!

Job Skills

I run a high six-figure editorial business with a team of ten and more than 600 projects annually. I’ve developed a system that helps me give my best to all of the amazing writers who want to work with me—but I need someone to help me keep things moving.

We will train you up in all of the functions required, but it will help if you’re already comfortable with, proficient in, or at least very driven to learn:

  • Google Suite: Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms
  • HoneyBook: a mostly automated client management system that we use to move projects through the pipeline, you’ll be monitoring the calendar and inbox here, returning projects on my behalf, as well as sending some manual messages and reminders
  • Trello: a project management interface where you will set up our editorial team for success
  • Dropbox: a file management system where you will create client folders
  • MailChimp: pulling together existing content for email newsletters
  • YouTube: uploading, describing, and scheduling videos
  • Zoho: some monthly data entry into a database form
  • Social Media: Instagram and Pinterest fluency—I’m looking for a design driven person to help with the “visual” social media
  • Design: Photoshop, InDesign and Canva skills a huge bonus!

Fluent and engaging written communication skills are a must, as you’re representing a company that is for writers, by writers. Excellent accountability is my top priority. You need to be driven enough to motivate yourself and communicate about any potential problems (like missing a deadline) way ahead of time.

I don’t have the bandwidth or energy to chase an assistant around and constantly check in, nor do I want to set up that kind of overbearing dynamic. I want you to be very excited to kick butt independently!

Job Details

This is a remote position. You can work from anywhere, but for tax reasons, you will need to be based in the US and legally eligible to work. This is a contractor position, so tax withholding is not provided. You are responsible for withholding your own income taxes and reporting your earnings to the IRS.  You will receive a 1099 instead of a W2 each year.

Since we do not provide benefits like health care or a 401k, I make it a point to provide learning, growth, personal, and professional development opportunities. My marketing person is currently enrolled in about $10,000+ worth of classes. Two weeks ago, I hosted an all expense paid four-day retreat in Arizona for my entire team.

Hourly wages are based on qualifications. I am looking for a firm commitment of 10-15 hours per week. I am also looking for someone who can be dedicated to this job and this company for years. I love my team to bits. I hate making changes to my team or suddenly being left with a position to fill. If you’re committed to us, we will be 100% committed to you.

We welcome the opportunity to hear from diverse applicants!

Company Culture

I’m Mary and I have been in the publishing business for 10+ years. I started Kidlit in 2009, published my book Writing Irresistible Kidlit in 2012, founded Mary Kole Editorial in 2013, and Good Story Company in 2019.

At Mary Kole Editorial and Good Story Company, we believe in helping all writers unlock their potential. We’re also passionate about doing good. This year, I launched the Good Story Grant and gave away an award of $2,000 to one writer to enable them to make an amazing dream come true for her project, and $500 so a runner up could take a very important trip. I can’t wait to see what kind of creativity the Good Story Grant facilitates in the future!

I’m a female founder working my way up in the business world and building a company that makes a difference. My team is a fun and motivated crew of writers, creatives, nerds (said with so much love!) and more. Our work, from the editorial team to the marketing team, is highly creative. But we’re successful, too, and only working to become more so!

More than anything, I want to inspire my future executive assistant and give you the tools and firsthand experience of what it means to run an amazing independent  business. My dream for you is that you stay with me for a long time, but then maybe go on to build something yourself, using what you’ve learned!

How to Apply

Thank you so much for your interest, but this opportunity is closed. I’m leaving this page up in case anyone ever wants to learn more about GSC and what we do!

Good Story Company Is Hiring!

I have some big plans for 2020, and to that end, I’m hiring!

good story company, storytelling, writers

Marketing Internship

I’m looking to train a marketing intern for this paid internship position. Book marketing is a big issue on every writer’s mind. I have conversation after conversation with writers in my editorial business, on the traditional and indie tracks, all about how to market themselves and their work.

Marketing isn’t just social media or printing bookmarks. And contrary to popular belief, marketing isn’t guaranteed with a book deal, not even for traditionally published writers. And how do writers market themselves before they’re published? Ack!

I’m looking for the right candidate to help me build a marketing extension of the Good Story Company. This will start as a paid internship, and will grow to a half-time or even full time position over time. There will be a heavy teaching and training component, but the right person will come to the table with experience and ideas of their own.

Requirements:

  • Age 18 and over
  • Legally able to work in the United States (unfortunately, for legal reasons, I’m not able to hire from outside of the US)
  • Have 8-10 hours available per week to devote to the internship
  • Be familiar with Slack and the G-Suite of tools
  • Have at least one year of existing experience in marketing—I’m looking to train up the right candidate, but I do want them to bring something to the table (not necessarily in book marketing)

In order to apply for this position, which will start in late January 2020, please submit the following:

  • Your latest and greatest resume
  • A cover letter that details your interest in this position
  • A sample marketing plan for a writer, traditionally published book, or independently published book—if you don’t know how to make one, do a little research online and give it your best shot!

Please send this combination (attachments are okay) to:

mary@kidlit.com

with the subject line “Marketing Internship” by January 10th, 2020, noon Central time. Late submissions will be deleted unread.

Diverse applicants are encouraged, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements! Starting pay for this internship will be $12/hr. This is a remote, web-based internship. I can’t wait to hear from you!

About That Marketing Thing…

I’m also planning a marketing class for writers in early 2020. If you’re interesting in getting on the waiting list or receiving more information, please sign up for the email list for this marketing class here.

Celebrating Nora Pepper Macdonald

As many of you know, two years ago today, I gave birth to my daughter, Nora Pepper. We didn’t know it at the time, but she would come to us with a very rare brain disorder called Ohtahara Syndrome. It would be the reason for her death sixteen days later. In the two years since Nora lived and died, I’ve gone through what feels like an entire lifetime.

Our gorgeous Nora girl. These pictures were taken when she was five days old, before we knew.

Losing Nora was the worst thing my husband, Todd, and I, have ever experienced. Our son, Theo, was 21 months at the time. We suddenly found ourselves reading a lot of picture books about death. An urn showed up in our living room. We went to an event put on by the Children’s Hospital bereavement department and released monarch butterflies. To this day, Theo says, “Sister Nora turned into a butterfly.”

It has been two years, today, since she was born.

Since then, Todd has started two restaurants, then left the traditional chef lifestyle. Now he works an honest-to-goodness 9-5 doing recipe development for a restaurant group in town. He cooks us dinner every night.

My editing business is having the most successful year ever, beyond my wildest imagination. I now work with eight absolutely amazing individuals. I’ve launched another company, a podcast, a forum, and a YouTube channel. There are even more big plans on the horizon.

Theodore the Goofball. This is immediately before he bowled me over into the grass.

Theo is thriving at a Spanish immersion preschool. He’s so funny. Like, so funny. And wise. We read books to him every day. He got a bunk bed this week and ran around the house, squealing with pure glee.

My family is complicated. Three months after Nora died, my father passed away from, as Kurt Vonnegut called it, “cancer of the everything.” But it brought me back in touch with my stepmother and half-sister. Three weeks ago, my stepfather suffered a massive stroke, a life-changing, and potentially life-ending event. But it brought my mother and I—uneasily, tenderly—out of a long estrangement.

And finally, we have Finn.

It’s impossible to have a bad day with Finny’s gorgeous smile.

Finn is a joy. He’s approaching 10 months. He’s always smiling. He has a gleam in his eye. He’s pulling up to stand. To be perfectly honest, if things hadn’t taken the turn they did, Finny-Doodle probably wouldn’t have come into our family.

Now we can’t imagine our lives without him.

Every year, I like to turn Nora’s birthday into a force for life and positivity, since it was the most godawful thing I’ve ever experienced (even though there were surprisingly beautiful things about it). Nora never got the chance to create a measure of good in the world, so I work to keep her memory alive.

The year she died—2017—I asked for donations to the Children’s Hospital Foundation. We were powerless against Nora’s condition, but our family raised over $20,000 to allow Children’s to help other families. Last year—2018—I asked for donations in Nora’s memory to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, an organization that allows families suffering infant loss or stillbirth to receive professional photographs of their brief time together. When they sent me the stack of cards with all the names of those who had donated in Nora’s memory, I shuffled through them all and wept.

This year, I’m directing anybody who wants to do some good in Nora’s memory to the Good Story Grant. My vision is a monetary gift of $2,000 to one or more writers that the Good Story Company is offering for the first time in January/February 2020. The first grant is fully funded, but depending on donations, which have already started to come in, we may be able to offer it more than once a year. The grant is accepting applications now.

The grant’s objective is simple: My team and I will review pitches from writers about how the money will help them get to the next level on a writing project. As long as it has to do with creative writing and there’s some accountability in the form of a timeline, deliverables, and letters of recommendation, we want to hear about it. If you’d like to help me support one or more writers every year, you are welcome to donate here.

Thank you for your support throughout the years. I truly love you, my amazing Kidlit crew, and I can’t believe that you help me live my dream every single day. I’m very sad that Nora isn’t with us, but the last two years have been truly incredible, in no small part because of you, my dear reader.

Announcing the Good Story Grant

I’m going to be honest with you guys. The situation I wrote about last week with an apology for a guest’s overly sales-focused behavior really got under my skin. In defending their actions, they wrote to me: “The reality is that there are always some people, especially writers, who are not used to webinars that sell product and think they are entitled to free content.”

Yes, writers do “think they are entitled to free content.” And they are! Imagine a writing teacher penalizing writers for trying to learn. Writers deserve help to get where they want to go. That has been my mantra for the last decade.

With all of this negativity swirling around, I decided to channel my frustration into something good. And so, I’m announcing the Good Story Grant! That’s right. I’ve been giving writers encouragement and knowledge for my entire career, now I’m straight-up giving money away. 💸💸💸

good story company, storytelling, writers

Good Story Grant

I’m giving away a cash prize of $2,000 to one eligible writer who has a project in mind where money would make a difference. What I want to know is:

  • what the project is
  • what the timeframe is
  • what the deliverable would be

Make your case with a personal essay and two letters of recommendation about you as a writer, or you as a motivated, creative person. Easy peasy. You don’t have to live in the US, but you must be able to accept funds in PayPal and be 18 years old as of the grant deadline.

Please learn more about the Good Story Grant here!

I’m taking applications the end of January, and a winner will be announced on Valentine’s Day because all you need is love, right? (To all supporters of writers: I’m also accepting donations from any interested parties on the page linked above, if you want to help me flesh out this grant or make the Good Story Grant an ongoing—rather than annual—event.)

Announcing Good Story Company

It is with great excitement that I’m announcing several new things today! This has been in the works for a while, so if I have seemed busy or stressed or looked tired, this is why! Without further ado, I present to you Good Story Company! Please take a second to watch this video and subscribe to my new YouTube channel (yes, I’m that guy now).

My new idea for a company serving writers and helping you craft a good story is, for now, threefold. First, we have GSC, the umbrella company that my team and I have put together.

Good Story Company

A content company providing services for writers. Most of them are free, for example, a writing forum (that survey from a few weeks ago makes more sense now, right?!), a blog, a podcast, and lots of inspiring and craft-focused content.

good story company, storytelling, writers

You can check out the Good Story Company website here. As well as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Crit Collective

Crit Collective is a FREE writing forum focused on ONE THING: helping you find your writing partner. This is a writing forum but not a general writing forum. This is a writing partner forum. It serves one function only—connecting writers to other writers, critique partners, beta readers, sensitivity readers, etc. It’s like online dating for writers!

crit collective, writing partner, writing critique, critique partner

I’ve done “Critique Connection” posts on Kidlit over the years, to great success. People have found their writing connections via those posts, and some critique relationships that started there are still going strong. How cool is that?

Now I’m starting a free forum to do the same. We got over 100+ responses on the survey and tried to listen to as much feedback as we could. Now it’s all about getting writers on the forum so that you can find your people. A forum is nothing without its users, so check it out!

Good Story Podcast

Finally, for now, I’d love to introduce you to the Good Story Podcast.  People have been bugging me for years to do a podcast. And in the last year, I have done some awesome interviews in webinar format. But one thing I don’t like about the webinar format: only registered students get the content. I want to give this content to EVERYONE because I work hard to interview amazing writers and thought leaders.

So now I’ve launched a podcast called Good Story Podcast. Absolutely free, absolutely interesting, all about writing, revision, the craft, and the business. And to show you that I mean business, I’m kicking it off with my first interview: Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo and writing teacher. Have a listen here:

I’m working on getting the podcast listed everywhere that you get your podcasts. In the meantime, let me know what you think!

storytelling podcast, podcast for writers

I’m so, so, so excited to present all of this to you. I have been talking to writers, teaching writers, and helping writers for over ten years now, and this is absolutely my life’s work and passion.

THANK YOU for all of your support over the years. I would be nowhere without you guys, my Kidlit readers, the original crew. We’ve been through so much over the years together, and I really wouldn’t be the person or the editor I am today without you. Yes, beautiful YOU!

I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING!