Category Archives: outlines

Part six of The Whiteboard

You can find part five of The Whiteboard here


So, here is the sixth part or installment of our strange tale. The Whiteboard is about a woman whose dry erase board at her job suddenly starts issuing someone’s opinion and becomes the object of their interest with her as the recipient.  Today we find out what happens next.

©The Whiteboard Part Six by Kim Smith

The writer didn’t put out new whiteboard writing at all on Thursday. By the time Anne got ready to leave work, she had convinced herself it was just a silly office game someone was playing with her and best left ignored. She wanted no part in it.

But when she prepared to leave for the day, she couldn’t locate her keys.

She was fastidious to a fault and to misplace anything was not her norm. She checked her sweater hanging on the back of the door, took every item out of her purse. turned it upside down and patted it to make anything inside fall out.

Nothing did.

And she had an immense set of keys. They were impossible to miss when they were lying on the desk or in the bottom of her purse. She checked her desk, every nook and cranny, even looking all around on the floor.

The keys were officially missing.

She gazed up at the whiteboard. Nothing there to give her a hint.

Or was there?

In very tiny writing, using the yellow marker this time, was one single line that she had completely missed.

“I like your car.”

Now, a cold drip of fear sucked through her belly. Did the writer take her keys?

She had to go to her car.

Of course, the writer had taken the keys.  Why else were they missing? The writer was taunting her. Anger made her breath come out in a whoosh as she strode from her office headed straight for the elevator.

If this lunatic had done anything to her car…she’d kill him. Or her. She didn’t care. When she got her hands on them, they’d be a believer.

When she walked outside, she blinked at the brilliance of the sun as it shone on her face. She would love to be able to just sit on the concrete steps and enjoy it. But instead, she thought about how unfair life was. She couldn’t even enjoy the seasonal beauty because someone had gotten focused on her and now had her heart filled with hate.

When she arrived at the car, her keys were lying just underneath the car’s door. Did she accidentally drop them? Had she been all keyed up over the writer’s activities and been at fault all along?

She scooped them up and walked around her car, suspiciously. She had had to have them in her hands to lock the vehicle’s door’s with the clicker. It was obviously locked. Besides, hadn’t the writer said in the latest writing that they liked the car?

Frustrated, she rushed inside the building to go straight to her boss’s office. Enough was enough. When she walked into her supervisor’s office, it was like it wasn’t even her moving her legs. She was a robot performing some weird pre-designed action.

“What’s up?” Mr. Stanton asked.

“I…I have a problem,” she replied, looking at the various items on his desk, formulating her thoughts.


He was being kind.

She was approaching this all wrong. She dove in anyway.

“Y-yes,” she stammered. “I’ve been having a visitor at night in my office.”

She glanced at him.

He steepled his fingers together and sat back.

“A visitor?”


Well, there you have it, my friends. What do you think will happen next?




The Whiteboard – Part Two

Welcome to the second installment of my ongoing short story, The Whiteboard. Last time we met Anne, a mousy little office worker who found the whiteboard in her office had been utilized mysteriously after she left the office one night.

You can read part one here


The Whiteboard (part two) by Kim Smith © 2017

As the day progressed, Anne began to think of responses to the saying that had been written on the board. She wrote one of her own on the way out that evening.

“Today’s experience was one of such horror, it would make a good movie.”

She chuckled as she admired her work before turning out the light, closing the door, and making her way to the elevator. The memory of the day was not as bad as she’d reported, but sometimes things that went on inside her workplace would make a good movie.


The next day, Anne entered her office in the same way as she usually did, only to find the mystery writer had struck again, regaling her with words of wisdom.

But this time, it was much more … personal. And potentially, darker.

You should live more. Tomorrow is an unpromised uncertainty.

“Why, you devil,” she muttered, grabbing the eraser. “You don’t know anything about me.”

She wiped away the first two phrases and placed her own thought above the latest offering.

A coward cannot face their tomorrows. A hero always does, even when it is dim.”

“Take that,” she said, slapping the marker pen into the holder.

She worked with fervor and avoided looking at the board for the next few hours. Then, as she inevitably would, her eyes strayed to the whiteboard. She read it again. She was convinced that whoever had written those words would understand her offensive treatment of them, if they read her response.

She hoped they did.

Then, in retrospect, she chided herself over the fact that she wasn’t the slightest bit worried that someone was coming into her office after hours to write on on the board. Wasn’t that a real problem, invasive, and creepy?

And just who was this mystery writer? And why were they choosing to do such a thing? Was it a secret admirer? Someone who worried that she worked too hard and didn’t mingle with the others at the coffeepot as they discussed the latest gossip?

She made a mental note to watch others as they nodded hello to her as she moved from office to copier or to the mailroom. Anyone who showed a bit too much interest would be suspect.

The time to leave for the day arrived, and she considered wiping the board clean. After all, it was silly to let some nameless, faceless writer make her feel so defensive. But even as her hand clasped the dry eraser cleaner bottle, she changed her mind. Something inside her wanted this person, this writer, to know what she thought about the latest posting.

She considered locking the door, also. That would be a big reply in and of itself. But a perverse sense of empowerment made her leave it unlocked. Let the writer see and know her response. What was the worst that could happen?

She flounced down the hallway, swinging her lunch bag.


That’s it for this week, folks. I hope you are enjoying this little short work of mine. If you want to, share this link with others so they can read it, too. for the first part of The Whiteboard





How to write a novel outline

How does a pantser write using an outline? Well, I am so glad you asked. I am about to drop that info on you right now.

Here is another post about outlines from earlier this year – I have said a few things about them before now.


First of all, before all else, decide what sort of story you want to write. Is it fiction? Is it a mystery? Romance? Other?

Then once that is done, you are ready to sit down for a little real work.

So, I find that writing books goes a lot farther when we start out with small ideas written out in outline form and build them up from there. I do not count words at this point. For sooooo many reasons! The biggest of which is that you are only in the idea phase and stuff changes. No sense making yourself crazy. I have discovered that the less stress you put on yourself at this time – the better your results will be. Different strokes for different folks. I am not scared of fat outlines, that can be edited down later-but I do try to keep it relevant. No wandering here folks.

Just try to get to know your story here, your characters, the important stuff. It’s a process.

Kim’s Guide to Outline a Book

First Step:

I look and see WHAT I ALREADY KNOW!  This is crucial when it comes to starting the story.  Super important in terms of new paper people, but also useful with standard stuff like setting, time of year, weather, etc.  Or it might even be noticing  the way things work like people at their jobs(I am from the corporate world so -yeah), so to save time I’ll think about how to incorporate what I already know into the scenes.

Second Step:

Next, write the outline. Scrivener is excellent for this because you can move the entries around to suit you. Generally follow these rules:

Point one – the meat of the story

Whose point of view is this story told from? What is their pain point? Where does it happen? What time of year? How does the pain point make them move forward and take action?

Point two – the potatoes of the story

Especially relevant are other items of story.

Is there a sub-plot I can weave in? Who are the supporting characters?

I plan for subplots and supporting characters like making a lunch for kids. It has to be good, quick, and non-refrigerated.

Third Step:

Here, I research. I do this last after all the brainstorming, world-building, etc. I mean, you can go down so many rabbit holes doing this research stuff, no written matter will happen. And by the way, Scrivener is excellent for this also as it allows you to put research materials in the binder portion VERY easily. Straight outta Internet.

Anyway, I hope this helps you get started. I try to use some sort of outline basically every book. It does save time later. And since I have mentioned Scrivener ad nauseum in this post, here is the link if you haven’t gotten yours:

It’s only $40.00 so – not a huge investment and you may find it helps you get more writing done.


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Creatives get busy: create an ebook!

Create something today and quit worrying about it


As of 2014, the population of the United States was 318.9 million. Well, I know it’s gone up and down since then but for illustration purposes, we are going to say there are at least 319 million people in JUST the US right now.

That’s a lot of people.

And every time my sales slump on my books, I remember that I might have touched a few thousand of that big number. So, there are still a lot of people out there who have never heard of me, or my books. If you are an author, you would do well to remember that. You are not a failure just because your books are slumping in sales.

So, last time, I talked about e-books versus paper versions.

I have thought of a few other good reasons to go digital. Like, buying an e-book is instantaneous. You click the buy/download button and voila! In a matter of moments, it is on your e-reader. You never have to get dressed, drive to a store, walk the aisles, and stand in line to purchase. It’s so simple, it’s a no-brainer. Everybody likes it when we create ebooks.

One of my earlier posts on the blog was about concept maps and how they help you organize ideas. It’s useful also for making e-books. You use the concept map to help build the outline, which I discussed also and you can read that here.

An outline can be considered as a sort of table of contents for the book to come. For my Ten Tips For Getting That Book Written, it was broken down into parts. You can use sections, parts, chapters, etc.- whatever works for you. When you create sections or parts, it makes it much simpler to see the direction the book wants to go in. The good thing is, you can change it around to different positions as appropriate as well.

For example: (this is not my outline, but it could have been!)

    Introduction to Writing
  • Section 1: What is motivation?
  • Section 2: What about inspiration?
  • Section 3: How to write from a position of inspiration
    1. Part 1: What is writing a book like?
      Part 2: Which format is best?

      Part 3: Is there a right or wrong way?

  • Section 4: Editing, your new friend
    1. Part 1: Is there a right way?
      Part 2: Should you work in drafts?

    There is nothing that says you couldn’t turn that all around. Talk about writing first, then editing, then motivation. There is no perfect outline.

    How Can I Get Started Writing My Book?

    All you need is a word processor, like Word, or TextEdit on Mac. TextEdit is open source software, meaning FREE. And don’t worry about your writing skills, instead, get started! Just write. Someone will help you later to get it into the proper format. I know what you are thinking, you are saying, “but where do I begin?”

    First, decide if you want to write FICTION or NON-FICTION. That simple difference will determine a lot of decisions. If you are writing a memoir for example, that might just be free-writing for a while until a form takes shape. But if you are wanting to write a non-fic about how to do something, that will be a different form.

    The most important thing is: GET STARTED! – and if you have questions, I am here to help! I love answering questions. There is nothing too big or small for me to answer for you.

    This is going to be a sort of series, I think. so…check back!

    email lists

    Outline: The Best Writing Tip

    Outlines are either loved or…not.

    What is the most beneficial thing you can do to get the writing flowing toward a completed ebook?


    Write an outline!

    It may seem obvious if you are a natural plotter/outliner/well-organized person, but most people about to embark on this journey ask how they should get started.  I am a pantser, meaning, I write from by the seat of my pants, no outline. This is what a lot of you say you do.We all have an urge to dive right into writing, but all too often after the first few pages – we get stuck. Follow the advice here to help build yourself the perfect outline foundation for your upcoming success.

    We all want to dive right into writing, but usually after the first chapter – we get writer’s block/or story block. Try the advice here to help outline and see if it will get you to “the end” quicker.

    What Good Does an Outline Do?

    It will:

    1. Allow you to develop your ebook via small, workable parts. Each area will have its own breakdown, its own part in the story.  They will be easy to look at and manage and you can see where the story is going and fill in where needed.
    2. Make it easy to see how close you are to getting to the goal of being finished.
    3. Make it easier to move stuff around and take stuff out if needed.
    4. Get the story out of your head and in front of you in a nice organized way.
    5. Give you ideas on how to broaden or narrow the scope of the story or book.
    6. Create a great synopsis or outline tool for marketing the idea to agents.

    An Example Ebook Outline

    I’m going to make up an ebook outline so you can see what all this means. This is a quick little ebook on how to find a literary agent.  Why I am using this for my subject is because 1. some writers still want to gain an agent for their work 2. some writers like more organization on important things like writing ebooks 3. writers write and they need help doing it when it seems like all the information they have gathered will NEVER come together and make itself into anything. 

    GET AN AGENT outline would look like this: 


      • Introduce yourself and why you are the person for this book to be written by – maybe share your agent info if you have some
      • Table of Contents
      • Section one: Why get an agent?

    (A)They can get you more money
    1. book deals
    2. promo pkgs

    (B)They can get you better contracts
    1. Internationally
    2. Film tv rights

    (C)They can advise you on best methods to get published
    1. Synopsis
    2. Blurb

    • Section two: How to get an agent?

    (A) Online
    1. Websites
    2. Other sites

    (B) Offline
    1. Conferences
    2. Through another contact

    …and so on and so forth…

    Last section could be :
    Wrap up
    and or about the author (with web links etc)

    You don’t have to write in order, either. You could easily start writing the offline agent contacts section as you could the why to find an agent part. It’s when you are finished that you move things around and put them in a logical order.

    And even as I look back on this simple outline that isn’t even complete, I am thinking of other things that could be added, such as types of agents. You could have a section on the history of literary agents. Really, the world is your oyster. Crack it open and pull out that pearl! Though this is just a made up ebook, you can see how writing an outline could make your book become even better.

    So try it. Create an outline. If you need something easy to work from, try outlining someone else’s book.