I have been an avid reader of books for the best part of twenty-five years, so I have a good idea of what needs to go into a plot. That said, I want to give myself the best chance possible of completing the challenge I have set myself, and believe that the more preparation and planning I do, the more chance I have of accomplishing my goal. I do not want to write half of a story before I realise that the plot does not work and have to start again from scratch!
I mentioned in a previous post that I am going to use Holly Lisle’s book as a starting point to construct the plot of my novel. This is simply because I have never attempted to write a book before, and this mini course apparently provides you with all the ingredients you need to create a plot that will work. Having read the first few chapters, it seems almost a “paint by numbers” approach.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
― Abraham Lincoln
Here are a few benefits of planning out your work before you begin;
- The thought of writing a whole book will seem less intimidating if you have already have a plan to guide you through the process.
- You can get a good idea of whether your plot is going to work – or if it is going to run out of steam before you get to the finish line.
- You will need to do less rewriting and changing the plot to make it work.
- Planning will reduce the likelihood of writers block, and not knowing what to write next.
- You will see problems in the plot or characterisation ahead of time and avoid writing yourself into a dead end.
- You will be able to write faster if you have planned out where the story is going.
While some writers like to plan, others prefer to write by the seat of their pants, and with no planning, simply sit and write. They may find that having to stick to a plan once they are in the flow of writing can be restrictive, and instead like to be spontaneous and write freely as ideas come to them. Writing spontaneously can be exciting, surprising, and keep ideas fresh.
There are, of course, different degrees of preparation; from single concept to a scene by scene plan. Every writer will work in a different way and find a system that works for them. For me, as a first timer, I think the more detailed the better! Although, I will leave room for changes if I think they are necessary as I go along. What do you guys think? How much planning do you put in before you start a first draft? Do you prefer to just write and see where the plot takes you? Would love to hear your thoughts…..