I might have mentioned previously that I’m firmly in the planning camp.
I even host a series of Guest Posters who give us their methods in writing a novel. Some of them fall into the planning camp, some the pantser camp and some sit on the fence, don’t they Michelle!
When I say, I’m a planner that doesn’t mean I don’t let the story go where it wants to, that I don’t let the characters wander off and do their own thing. I’m not in charge. They do whatever they want to do. I use my plan to steer them back into the story.
The WIP I wrote as part of Camp NaNo, A Scream In The Woods was planned out in Scrivener. The first 7 chapters and the last two were mapped before I started work. When I hit chapter 5 things had already changed. A turn of events forced me down a different road, but the overall plan didn’t change.
I mentioned previously in my Just Do It post, that people have often said they’ve had a great idea for a novel, but don’t take it any further. Part of that is probably not knowing what to write, or at least, how to write it.
That’s where I think a plan is a good guide to set things in motion.
Write an outline. Might only be a couple of paragraphs about your plot, who your main protagonist is and what their motivation is to tell the story. Let the idea settle for a while, might keep popping into your mind. Use a notebook to keep writing down these thoughts.
Then, maybe write a longer outline. Maybe a couple of pages about the story, flesh out the other characters. You are going to have more than one character aren’t you?
I then turn the outline into three parts. Your beginning, middle and end phase. I always start with a 30 chapter plan. Roughly 10 pages a chapter leading to a 300 page book. A nice length for a novel, not too short, not too long.
Through planning and the outline, I step through the three stages and make a few notes. This might only be something like Main Protagonist goes for a drive into the village. Interacts with strange man with a cactus. It might be more detailed a couple of paragraphs or more.
I like to have an ending in mind though that doesn’t mean I will stick to it. My brain needs to have the ending to know the twists and turns I want the reader to go through to take them there.
When I have enough to work with, I can start. I’ll plan the rest as I go and the more time I spend with the characters, the rest sort of fills in as we tell their story. So planning helps me get the story off the ground and we go from there.
How much do you plan your novels?
This is my P post for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. A list of all my A to Z Blogging Challenge posts are to be found here.
Today’s photographs are two from Pickering and our Golden Post Box thanks to Jessica Ennis. All the Gold Medalists from London 2012 were given a Post Box make-over. The usually red box painted Gold. Nice touch.