When I begin writing, one thing that I can never do enough of is plan. No matter how much I think I plan in advance, there’s always room for improvement. In writing my novel, I have taken a lot of time to plan where the story was going creating narratives for my characters that could stand up to multiple stories.
However, once I started writing, and got about 7000 words in, I’ve realised I needed to go back to the plan and expand it, looking down into the plots within my plots, so I’m not left stranded in my writing not knowing where the story is going, or worse, what I’ve written not making sense.
In university, I was on a creative course, so I had to do a lot of planing when it came to working to a schedule to get my projects done.
In my latest project though, I’m not working to anybody’s time scale but mine, so self-determination is a key factor
There are ways I break down my planning:
- Structure planning – this is going over the whole storyline, be it one book or a whole series. This, I would say, is the biggest task of all, but the one I start with. When I have an idea of what I want my characters to do and where I want the story to go. When I first draft this, it will never be complete, but as long as I have a rough outline, I can move happily onto the next stage
- Novel 15 Beat Plan – I am currently using the 15 Beat structure plan to plot my novel. I use this to make sure my story flows and is bursting with interesting plot points. This expands on the structure plan, focusing on smaller points that I may not have factored into the overall universe of my books.
- Chapter Plan – An even smaller take, looking at how I am going to break the story up, how to make it flow better, making sure one chapter isn’t to heavy with important plot points, and another chapter that doesn’t have any. For this, I make sure there is at least one beat in each chapter, to keep the story moving and to make sure nothing is wasted and pointless.
For the next few months, planning is going to play a big part of my life (so no different from the past three years), because as I wrote in my last post, I want to take part in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I’m going to be working double time to get my plots down!
How do you plan your stories? Is there anything I’ve missed that you think I should try? I’m just a novice writer ready and willing to hear your advice!