Review of Outline Master by Lina Trivedi

Outline Master is a software product for writers from Lina Trivedi. It aims to provide a simple tool for creating outlines for non-fiction books or articles. These outlines can then be used as a framework for constructing articles, books or websites.

The first thing I should say is that Outline Master is an online product rather than downloadable. Once you are logged in to the members area, you start by entering four pieces of information regarding the topic you want to prepare an outline for. I’ve copied this below…

I did find some of the item descriptions a little confusing. In particular, I think the second one should read ‘as a noun’ rather than ‘in present tense’. And if we’re being picky, ‘complimentary’ in the third item should presumably be ‘complementary’.

Once you’ve filled in the form, click to continue and the software will go ahead and generate an initial outline for you. Here’s one it created for me on the subject of blogging…

I was reasonably impressed with this. Obviously it would need a bit of re-jigging, but there are some quite good ideas for structuring your content. Any items you don’t want you can deselect by clicking to remove the tick in the box to the left. You can also add your own topics by clicking on a link lower down (not shown in the screengrab).

Click to continue again and a new page will open showing your revised outline, incorporating any additions and/or deletions. You can re-order any item by dragging your mouse on the small up/down arrow to the left of the item concerned.

Click to continue again and a new page will open showing your finished outline.

You can choose a name with which to save the file in the universal RTF format. You can then download and edit it in Microsoft Word or Open Office.

Here is a video produced by Lina which walks you through the entire process…

 

And that’s Outline Master in a nutshell. It’s a simple program, but it does a useful job. Of course, the outlines it produces will all follow a similar pattern, but it’s still a good basis to start from. It might be nice if you could add subheadings as well, but that would reduce the simplicity which is part of the software’s attraction. And you can always add subheadings once you have imported the outline to Word, of course.

In addition to Outline Master itself, you get a couple of bonus items. One is a basic guide to Kindle publishing, which will get you up to speed with publishing e-books on the Kindle platform. And the other is a guide to outsourcing content creation. Lina says she has used the process set out in this to outsource more than 500,000 words of content herself.

Finally, I should mention that there are a couple of ‘one-time-offers’ you will see when purchasing Outline Master. The first is for some software you can use to expand your outline into a full-length article or book. And the other is for formatting software designed to convert your book into Kindle-ready files. Among other things, it automates table of contents (TOC) creation, and optimizes images for size and placement. It’s not especially cheap, but may be worth buying if formatting your book for Kindle is a concern for you.

Overall, while it’s not earth-shattering, I think Outline Master is well worth considering at its current modest price of $15 (about 10 UK pounds). If you regularly write content for blogs or websites it could be a valuable time-saver. You could also use it for outlining longer projects, such as e-books in the popular how-to category..

If you have any comments or questions about Outline Master, as ever, feel free to post them below and I will do my best to answer them.

Outline Master

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