I recently came across this wonderful outline for crafting long fiction, Your Novel Blueprint | WritersDigest.com. More than just an outline, it explains major pieces of a novel, and offers suggestions for building them.
Two concepts stood out to me. The first is the High Concept Blurb. I’ve been working on developing loglines for my stories, which are very similar, but the High Concept Blurb has a little more flexibility. The author provides a couple templates and suggestions for filling them out.
The second concept is Story Sparks. These are much like the plot points that are mentioned whenever someone talks about giving your story a three act structure, but in this article they are described as the moments of inspiration that an author might use to carry a story forward. The most interesting (and perhaps controversial) aspect is her recommendations for how many sparks a story of a given length requires. I’m convinced that most NaNoWriMo participants fail because they don’t have enough sparks for their story, or they cram them too close together and run out of gas before they hit the 50,000 word mark.
This is definitely an article worth reading.