There are many ways to plan a novel just as there are many ways to Plot a novel. How do you plan depends on who you are and how you organize your ideas.
First, it’s good to know what kind of planner you are pertaining to your books. You may be the most organized person you know (ahem, me!) but you find while planning and writing your book, that may or may not be the case.
For me, I’m definitely a planner, working out all the details I can before I begin writing, but I found that my stories (and characters) don’t always cooperate well. If you’re characters are anything like mine, they will definitely throw things out of whack… while other characters just appear as you write! Although that can create some awesome plot twists and more action to your story, it can be difficult to regain your footing on the story after the fact.
Never the less, I believe it’s good to have some sort of plan even if it’s small scribbles on a napkin or pages of notes.
Planner vs Pantser:
When planning a novel there are many factors to take into account. Are you a planner or a pantser. Or perhaps you’re like me and you dabble in both.
- Those with a method of writing from start to finish.
- Planning plot points, character profiles, story maps, setting, theme, premise, the whole lot.
- They take their time to research, outline, study and collect their thoughts.
- Writers who rely on instinct and intuition to accomplish their story.
- They add elements as they go along – plot twists, characters, conclicts, etc.
- They will at times delete large sections to make their stories what they should be to keep readers interested.
- Writers who plan plot points, research, create characters, conflict, tension, story maps, setting theme, premise, outline and more only to have it ripped to shreds by an epiphany of a plot twist, the addition of a character or the devastation of a run away conflict.
- They will plan elements before hand and add things as they go cause, you know your characters will never let you rest until you do as they want.
- They take their time to research, while adding or deleting large sections of the story as needed. Taking what comes to mind as they write and incorporating it into what they are writing.
Ways to Plan:
Now that we have talked about the kind of planner you are, let’s get to the reason for this posts. Ways you can plan your novel.
This can be as long, detailed, or information as you want. If you only want the plot points with character involvement then that’s all you need for you. Or if you want to go into detail of each point, the conflict that goes with, the characters involved, the setting, etc. It’s really lump to you how much you want to put into it.
This is a collection of pictures, notes, textures and more that correlate with your story. It’s your story with physical items to touch and feel to get your mind into the right atmosphere for your story.
I’ve heard a lot of authors will use note cards to assist with planning their novels. Writing down scenes, characters, plot event, and more. Mounting them up or organizing them in a way to keep their thoughts in order and in one place.
There are plenty worksheets floating around the net to help you plan any and all aspects of your story. From characters, to setting, to plot charts and more. One search will show you just how many there are. It’s up to you to sort through them, find the ones that help you the most and put them to use.
Timelines will come in handy to plot events of your story in real time. From day to day, month to month and year to year depending on the time that passes within your novel(s).
Graphs (Plot lines)
As with timelines, these are graphs/charts that mark the major events of your story from beginning to the end.
Of course, you are able to use any and/or all of these if you so choose to plan out your novel. Pick and choose what works for you and forge forward on your writing journey.
So, what kind of plantser are you? Do you have any other thoughts on ways to plan? Share them so we can all find and hone our processes together!!
Want to see my process? Check it out here: Writing Process