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The Inside Outline

A simple tool to make the hardest part of writing a book go 10x faster


Jennie Nash


Live on Sept. 22, 2021, or watch recording


Novelists of every skill level


Closed captions by Otter; transcript provided with recording

We read stories to watch someone else make meaning of the things that happen to them. Regular life can so often feel meaningless—we go to Costco, go to the dentist, throw burgers on the grill. Have you ever thought, “What’s the point of all this running around?” Or on a deeper existential level, “What am I doing with my life?” That’s what we come to story for—to see other people making sense of what can so often feel senseless, to see them making meaning of things, to see them answering the question, “What’s the point?”

A novel gives them a point. If this sense-making doesn’t happen in your story, odds are good you will lose your reader. Your book will feel too much like the senselessness of daily life. It will feel random, purposeless.

The Inside Outline is a simple three-page tool that helps you marry the plot to the point. It guarantees that whatever happens in your story—a mean girl snub, the race to stop a monster on the loose, the rise and fall of civilizations—will have personal meaning to the protagonist, because in every scene, you know why it matters to them, why they care. This is what makes the reader care at every turn and what adds up to a story they can become invested in.

In the Inside Outline, you marry the plot (the outside of the story) to a point (the inside) for every main action of the story. You design the plot to serve your story and you design your story to make your point. At every step, you say to yourself, This is the scene, this is the point this scene makes, and this is how it causes the next thing that happens.

Creating this logical underpinning is the hardest work of writing a novel. Most novelists do this work—if they do it at all—in the midst of doing all the other tasks of developing a story. This is a dangerous mistake that costs writers an enormous amount of time and causes them a great deal of frustration.

The solution is to take the time to lock in the point of your novel before you start to write, or before you start to revise, or whenever you are stuck and can tell your story lacks oomph.

This class on Sept. 22 will teach you how. Participants will come away from this workshop with:

  • A simple and powerful tool called an Inside Outline that they can use before they write, before they revise, or whenever they get stuck
  • A set of ten “test” questions they can use in conjunction with the Inside Outline to measure the efficacy of their story
  • A draft of the first two crucial elements of their own Inside Outline

Who should take this class

  • Novelists noodling around with a new idea but who haven’t yet started to write
  • Writers whose books need to be rescued—which is to say, writers who are stuck, writers who have big revisions they need to do, and writers who are getting rejected and can’t figure out why
  • Seasoned novelists who want to move faster on their next book
  • Writers new to fiction writing who want to understand how it all works
  • Writers of all adult and YA fiction genres, as well as memoirists (because in memoir, you are the protagonist of the story)
  • Writers who love one of the popular story structure methods (Save the Cat, The Snowflake Method, Story Genius, Story Grid, etc.). The Inside Outline plays well with these methods.
  • Writers who loathe outlines and have vowed to never use them because it messes with your mojo—yet you are not making the progress you want to make. (Give this course a try: The Inside Outline tends to win people over.)

Who should not take this class

  • Nonfiction writers who are not writing memoir
  • Children’s picture book writers

How do I know if this class is worth the cost?

This is an important question, and it’s a tough one to answer—especially since so much online education is available free of charge. Furthermore, every student is different, and a valuable webinar for one person can end up being a disappointment to another. For this reason, we offer full refunds if you register, attend or watch at least one class, and fail to get the information you were looking for. Please email us directly to request a refund.

Do I have to attend the live classes?

No. Everyone who registers will get access to the recording. However, if you’d like to attend live, keep reading.

How do I attend the live class?

This class uses Zoom webinar technology. You will join through your Internet-connected computer or mobile device. When you register, you will receive information via email on how to join the class. If you don’t receive it within 1 hour of registering, please contact us.

  • When: Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021
  • Time: 1:00–2:00 p.m. EDT / 10:00 a.m. Pacific
  • Fee: $25

The webinar is broadcasted via the internet with live audio delivered through your computer or mobile device speakers. The visual presentation is displayed directly from the presenter’s computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions read and answered by the presenter for the entire class to hear.

Closed captions are provided during the live class. We use Zoom’s automated closed caption service (powered by Otter), which is about 80%+ accurate. We also use Otter AI to generate an unedited transcript, provided with the recording.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, DBW, #DBW13, Publishers Launch, Authors Launch, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, The Bookseller, TheFutureBook

About the instructor

Jennie Nash is the founder and CEO of Author Accelerator and the creator of the Book Coach Certification Program. Her company has certified more than 75 book coaches in both fiction and nonfiction. Jennie’s own book coaching clients have become New York Times bestselling authors, landed top New York agents, and won six-figure book deals with Big 5 houses such as Penguin, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette. Jennie is the author of 10 books in 3 genres, including her most recent, Blueprint for a Book: How to Build a Novel from the Inside Out. This course is based on the Blueprint framework Jennie teachers her book coaches. Visit her at,, and

This process makes me want to write, and it makes what I’m writing better. I read it before every draft. It’s that good.

KJ Dell’Antonia

New York Times bestselling author of The Chicken Sisters

Jennie Nash turned me into a plotter and changed the way I think about approaching any new project. I’m an Inside Outside outline fan for life!

Allison Hammer 

author of You and Me and Us and Little Pieces of Me

I will sing the praises of the Inside Outline forever. It’s f*ing genius.

Carla Naumburg

author of How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids 

All students receive the following

  • Access to live class. After roughly 45 minutes, Jennie will take questions during class using in-class chat/text. The class will end after roughly 1 hour.
  • A recording of the class—audio and video. This is especially helpful if you have a conflict with the class time or something comes up and you can’t make the session. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for six months. You do not have to attend the live event to access the recordings.
  • Supporting Inside Out materials. You’ll receive (1) an Inside Outline worksheet to work on during the course itself, (2) an Inside Outline workbook to guide you as you flesh out your Inside Outline once the course is over, and (3) a 10 Point Inside Outline Checklist
  • Presentation slides. All participants receive a copy of the slide presentations in PDF form.
  • Rough transcript. We use Otter to create an automated transcript of the entire webinar, which we’ll share with you in addition to the audio and video recording.

Event Attendance & Anti-Harassment Policy

We strive to provide an environment where all present—whether attendee, presenter, or staff—can feel supported. In order to ensure a welcoming event, here is what we expect from all who participate.

  • That the presenter and the presenter’s work be treated with respect by attendees and that all attendees treat each other with respect and a generosity of spirit.
  • That attendees will refrain from harassment of any sort including (but not limited to) comments or questions of a racist, homophobic, sexist/sexual, or threatening nature. This includes actions that disrupt or interfere with anyone’s ability to participate. Offenders will be disconnected from the live event.

System Requirements to Join the Webinar

We will be using Zoom webinar technology.

You’ll need:

  • An internet connection: broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
  • Speakers: built-in, USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth

Recommended bandwidth:

  • 600kbps (down) for high-quality video and 1.2 Mbps (down) for HD video
  • If you connect through audio only: 60-80kbps (down)

Supported operating systems:

Supported tablet and mobile devices:

  • Surface PRO 2 running Win 8.1
  • iOS and Android devices
  • Blackberry devices

Supported browsers:

  • Windows: IE 11+,  Edge 12+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Mac: Safari 7+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Linux: Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+

For a detailed listing of system requirements, check Zoom’s site.