Over the last couple of weeks Jacintha Topaz and Beth Barany have discussed pantsing and how to plan your story this way. This week, I’m going to talk about planning, because that is the way I fly.
I’ve tried to pants it – which is writing without a plan. I get about half way through the story and run out of steam. And because I don’t have a plan… I don’t know where my story will go, and I stop. I’ve tried it repeatedly, and the same thing happens every time, so I go back to my planning.
Some people say that planning takes all the fun out of writing the story, because you already know what’s going to happen. Sometimes this is true, but often, it isn’t. I might have an idea of how the story will end, but until I write it, it might not happen that way.
That is what I like about my planning, its flexible, if I go off on a tangent, I can go with it. If it fizzles out, then I have my plan to come back to.
So how to I plan? Generally when I have a story idea, I use Evernote (others use OneNote ) or aphysical notebook to put down the ideas, after a while I collate the ideas, and often while doing this, I come up with a storyline. Take for instance Cursed Love. I first came up with the idea based on a family curse. After some discussion with my Mum, Melissa Pearl and Tee Ayer, I come up with some ideas, including having a necklace that the curse was linked to, having the curse come down the female line in the family, and having the heroine being an introvert with a lot of hurt inside. Combining all of these things, and throwing in a handsome man who just happens to annoy the heroine, and you have the starting of an interesting story. But then, why not throw a curveball – an ex brother in law with a grudge, and the story just gets interesting.
When I’m planning, I like to use mind maps. On one side I have my chapters, and a couple of three sentences encompassing the action I want in that chapter, and on the other side, I have a list of my characters, their descriptions and their interactions with the other characters. I love mind mapping for this purpose. It helps me to see if I need to move ideas around, and this can be easily done. Once I’m happy, I start writing 🙂