Wednesday 11 April 2012

Book 3 - How Do You Plan Yours?

I used to start writing a book with the briefest of outlines. I had an A4 ring bound notebook that contained my notes and ideas for stories and and anything from a few lines to a few pages was the extent of my planning and off I went.

I didn't really do planning beyond the basic concept because the more I plotted, the less interested I became in the story. It was like I'd told the story to myself so writing it was no longer fun.

This obviously didn't work. I did finish some 'books' but they were never any good and the thought of working on the mess I'd end up with was too daunting and I'd either give up or send a load of crap out to agents (to be kind to myself, I was young and didn't realise then it was a load of crap).

When I wrote Book 1, I did a bit of planning - far more than I was ever used to but it really wasn't much - a few notes jotted down on post-its for the next part I was writing. With Book 2 I did more. I planned each scene, from the beginning of the book to the end and, surprising myself, it was still fun to write and knowing what each scene I was supposed to be writing was a great help. I had none of those moments where you sit in front of the computer thinking what now? There was a bit of staring at the screen (hey, I'm not perfect, you know) but it was different. I knew what the scene was supposed to entail, I just had to work out how best to write it.

So, with Book 3, I'm back with the planning. Even more so this time. At the moment I am detailing each plot line so that I can weave them together into scenes later on. I'm hoping that by putting in some work now, it'll be easier when it comes to writing it. That's the plan. Let's see if it works.

How do you plan your books? Or do you not plan at all? What works best for you?


  1. That;s interesting, because I am the same way you used to be. The more I plan, the less interest I have.

    All I have in my head when I start to write a new story is a set of characters and a very, very basic plot. Once I start writing, the story tells me where it's going lol :D

  2. That's how I used to be. Not sure why it changed but it's working for now so I'm going with it!

  3. I've also tried various ways when writing my books. I tend to write a vague synopsis for my first draft, mainly to remind me of the direction I was intending to take and alleviate those blank moments. I do like the characters taking me in directions I hadn't considered, so the initial synopsis is usually completely different to the one I write at the end.

  4. Oh I do love it when a character comes to life and ties over.

  5. panstered my way through one, part plotted through two, and have plotted number three. However, I do get sidetracked and often ignore the plot!

  6. My experience sounds very similar to yours! My had a very detailed outline for my book 3, based on my experience with feeling overwhelmed at trying to clean up the mess of my first two books.

  7. Gylnis - it's your plot so you can get sidetracked all you like (I blame the characters for meddling with the plot anyway).

    Margo - perhaps that's why I've started plotting more and more - I ended up rewriting around 50,000 words from scratch of book 1. That was definitely overwhelming.


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