What’s a novel timeline? It is one of the most useful drafting tools we writers have. It is the document that details when each major and minor event will occur. This isn’t just useful for ensuring all of those events make it into the book, it’s useful in ensuring that there is progress/development, in some shape or form, in every chapter.
Supporting characters, particularly the ones in our protagonist’s immediate circle, have a significant impact on the plot of a book and on our main character’s growth. Have you ever heard the saying, you are who you spend time with? It's true, and so it goes without saying that we need to know exactly who our protagonist spends most of their time with.
A main plot outline isn’t meant to detail every event of the novel. The main plot outline is meant to detail the three act structure of the main plot. The main plot is the big, over-arching story; the story that takes the entire length of the novel to tell. The main plot is the big, catastrophic, life-changing adventure that your protagonist goes on. So, without further ado, let’s discover what a main plot outline might look like.
You can have the most compelling plot in the world, but if readers don’t care about the characters in the middle of that plot, it's useless. If characters are so important (particularly the one that we experience the story through–the protagonist), they need to be well-rounded, three-dimensional people. They need to feel real.