Rebecca Onion looks at the typed outline for a Hardy Boys novel:
In this two-page outline for the 1927 Hardy Boys’ mystery The House on the Cliff, Edward Stratemeyer directed writer Leslie Macfarlane in the construction of the plot of the second book in the franchise’s original series. The book was officially published as the work of Franklin W. Dixon, a fictional author whose name appears on all of the Hardy Boys books.
It’s fascinating to look at something so old yet so familiar. Most modern televison writing goes through an outline stage, at which point the studio and network sign off on the story — or send it back with notes.
TV outlines aren’t this rough, but they are similarly straightforward in their just-what-happens style. I find them hard to write, because my instinct is always to be fancy and clever. That’s not what outlines are for.
Based on what I read in Marvin Heiferman and Carole Kismaric’s The Mysterious Case of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, Macfarlane would have had a month to turn this outline into a book, for which he would be paid $100.