The classic book on outlining, originally written for screenplays, is Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat.
For some examples of how I use the Snyder outline, and other outlining methods I use, you can peek at some posts I did for NaNoWriMo:
So obviously, I like the Blake Snyder outline, and so do a lot of others. There are a lot of books that teach the basic principles of Outlining, but few that are substantial enough that they add anything new to what Snyder said first and better.
The Story Grid, however, is a full of gold. It takes the standard Outline and beefs it up for the Big Leagues. The key difference? The Story Grid attacks the specifics of Genres. Not all Genre story arcs are covered in depth, but enough to convey the idea that there is no one formula to fit all.
I’ll be discussing what I’ve learned from this book and how I apply it in my posts (later this month), “What are the Obligatory Scenes for Genre Fiction?” and “How to Use Reiteration in Romance.”
Buy The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know by Shawn Coyne