Novel writers - to what extent do you plan your work?

(16 Posts)
Meta4 Mon 10-Dec-12 15:55:30

Are you rigid chapter-by-chapter planners, or do you wing it?

I find planning holds me back a bit. I've got a few ideas/concepts but planning an emtire work around them is HARD!

ImperialBlether Mon 10-Dec-12 16:02:39

I write a page (maximum) on each chapter but usually there are odd pages where I can't think what might happen. Sometimes I realise actually nothing should happen and other times I talk it over with someone and realise what should happen - often those are the best bits.

It gets rid of writers' block if you know what's going to be in each chapter, I think.

Meta4 Mon 10-Dec-12 16:28:23

sulks Not sure there's anyone I can really talk to about it.

Meta4 Mon 10-Dec-12 16:29:19

Sorry, that wasn't meant to be bold, it was meant to mark my sulking action!

ImperialBlether Mon 10-Dec-12 16:44:34

Talk to us! I LOVE plotting! PM if necessary.

Meta4 Mon 10-Dec-12 16:58:09

Thanks very much! I might do that. Give me a while to gather my thoughts and I might run it past you.

GW297 Mon 10-Dec-12 21:10:11

I spend a lot of time planning but also happy to deviate and go with it!

ImperialBlether Mon 10-Dec-12 23:55:04

You can't plan and take a vow to stick to the plan. The plan is really to get you started and to make sure you head in the right direction. If, halfway through, you realise you should go in the opposite direction then that's fine - nobody's holding you to it! It's just so much less scary to start a chapter when you've a page or so telling you what's in it.

Novelist Wed 12-Dec-12 21:00:44

Love a good plan and am a big believer that everyone should learn to plot, even if you end up being a pantser. Need to have those tools at your disposal. I winged my first few books, then ran into a story where I became scarily stuck. Am now keen on everything three-act structure, but my favourite tool is Michael Hauge's six stage plot structure.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 18-Dec-12 11:39:55

Novelist - thank you for the tip re Hauge, I've never come across it before and think I'm going to find it useful.

pillowcase Sat 22-Dec-12 17:33:19

hey all,
didn't see this section before and hope to join you all. am writing novel, children's novel and short stories but still unpublished. must look up Hauge. Have found lots of stuff on youtube that's interesting. the plot whisperer and also Brandon Sanderson lectures.

pillowcase Sat 22-Dec-12 17:36:08

to answer question, i did't plan too much on my first effort but the revisions were painful and it was never a good story, now i try to plan as much as possible in advance, makes writing much easier and makes for a better first draft

BsshBossh Thu 27-Dec-12 00:55:11

I'm a planner. I've used Snowflake and Dramatica methods but adapted to suit my needs. For a novel I will spend a month or so planning. Haven't published yet though have written three.

Absy Fri 28-Dec-12 10:08:44

I'm editing (with a bit of writing) a novel at the moment - I have been writing it for * mumbles * an incredibly long time, and had an idea of what was going to happen along the way in my head (I wrote the ending a while ago). BUT, if I were to do it again I would do more planning than I have with this one.

As this is at such an advanced stage, I keep a separate document which sets out all the chapters, timelines, what should be happening where and when and the themes, arc of the story, background on characters etc. (which is useful when I find a passage which I think needs to be moved somewhere else, particularly to help decide where it should be).

wearingpurple Fri 28-Dec-12 10:11:32

I'm changing my m.o. for 2013. For the last three years I've worked within a loose structure which has tended to mutate as I go along - but this year I've decided to plot everything rigidly because I'm sick of my weak endings.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Thu 03-Jan-13 10:16:42

Bit of both. When I was a teen scribbling away in my bedroom I just used to start a story and keep going; things would often fizzle out or I would get stuck and then start the same thing again from scratch. I did actually finish about four novels in this fashion (which were all bloody awful, naturally). Later on I got convinced of the wisdom of planning, partly due to knowing other writers and knowing that publishers wanted 2-3 chapters and a synopsis of the rest.

However, this time round I have a loose bundle of notes and I am just plugging away; I know roughly where I'm going and what the three main plot strands are but I keep finding that certain 'key scenes' are moving further and further into the middle of the book.

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