Planning: Planning Methods

Introduction

I’ve talked about planning before and for many people you may already have your own personal methods. And that’s the beauty of it, you’ll learn as you go what works for you. Here are just a couple of starting ideas:

The traditional approach

Divide your book up into sections, (usually by chapters or by sections of the three Act Structure) and brainstorm what happens in each section, which characters are involved and how it leads to and from the sections either side of this.

Once you have finished all your brainstorming for each section, collect all your ideas and write a concise summary (usually two to three sentences) of what happens in each section.

This allows for flexibility without following the strict rules of other planning methods.

This is great to allow your story to naturally grow, however I would advise it for only the most organized as it can get incredibly messy.

 

The Reverse Outline

Planning backwards means you can start with the major climax at the end of your book, which is probably the part of your story you know the best. Then work out how to get to the climax, then how to get to that and so on and so on.

 

Visual Storyboards

If you are gifted with the ability to draw, (…lucky…) then storyboard your story, a picture speaks a million words and is probably quicker to do than write them.

pile-of-books

Three-act structure

For those of you out there more concerned with the structure of your story rather than any specifics of plot then you should use the three-act structure to plan out your novel. It can be argued that every (good) story follows the three-act structure and thus planning yours to it should help give you some peace of mind.

 

Each of these acts contains certain specific features:

Act 1: [The first quarter] Contains the most elements, the opening scene that establishes the characters and the main conflict, the inciting events where the characters begin the journey of the book and the turning point which introduces the second Act.

Act 2: [50% in the middle of the book] at the centre of the second act the action should rise to its climatic midpoint and is usually where everything changes for the characters. Once again there must be a turning point into Act 3.

Act 3: [The last quarter] This is the one people know the best. The Third Act is where the final climax and resolution play out.

 

Tentpole Moments

What are the events or conflicts that without your story will collapse, (like a tent)? Write these down and then try to find what links all these events together throughout the story.

 

Write A Script

This may seem strange to plan your book in a different media form, but a script only requires description and dialogue meaning you can plan quickly and expand from there.

 

Dialogue Pass

Similar to planning in the form of a script: just let the characters talk. It’s a good way of exploring their voices and their stories and again this method allows you to write the bare bones of your story quickly.

Further Reading

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/09/14/25-ways-to-plot-plan-and-prep-your-story/

https://www.nownovel.com/blog/7-ways-write-plot-outline/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Social Anxiety is effecting my Hermit Writing.

Hi Guys!

It’s been a SLOW week. Works has been keeping me busy non-stop and I have not had the energy to sit down and write. Partly because I’ve just finished a huge sections following one of my main characters Valsi. Now…I love Valsi, he spends most of the book wanting the illusion of a normal life back but have a pay the price of murdering his wife’s son to do so. What’s not to love?

However Valsi is a drunk, over friendly, funny man. NONE of things are things I am. Honestly writing social situations is almost as exhausting as being in them. And Valsi has to LIKE being in them. Honestly some days I just want to murder Valsi with a fork.

But I finally moved away from him this week and back to my main protagonist, Jaidev. At least Jaidev is as social awkward as me but I seem to have hit a wall in motivation. So it’s a surprise to me that’s I’ve written 7880 words. I’ve never kept an eye of how much I write per week so I have no idea if that’s good or bad but I’m impressed, though most of that was editing for perhaps not as many original words written.

So back to my more main characters Jaidev and Rajiv this week, once I remember how to write them properly. You may have also noticed this is a completely new format for me, let me know if you want more of these writing updates or what I can improve!! 

Editing: When to involve other people

Introduction

You’ve written your book and edited it until you are sick of looking at its words. Now comes the terrifying part: letting other people see it. And of course, this leads to a pleather of questions you didn’t even know needed answers: how do you find an editor? How many editors do you need? Do you need a CP, a sensitivity editor or a proof-reader? Or should you just not bother. But don’t fret, I will traverse with you through this strange world of people you have to paid to read your work. 

Who?

I’m going to be blunt: this is a shortened list, because the world of beta readers and editors is very large and so there will be types that even I haven’t heard of. These are just the main ones I believe are important. The writing world is surprisingly big, shoot me.

·         Proof-readers: Proof-readers do not offer (usually) any advice on the writing or plotting but only are there to correct any grammatical and spelling errors.  Proof-readers should be used up top so none of the other stages need to worry about something so small.

·         Critique Partners: CPs are another name for Writing Buddies. They are fellow writers who, in exchange for looking at their own work, offer advice on yours and often help to give you a kick up the arse to write and actually finish the damn thing.

·         Beta readers: Beta readers are, what else, readers who look over your book to review it from a reader perspective rather than a writer’s. They are usually volunteers who give their opinion on your story and can give interview style questions that you may to improve your work.

·         Editors: this is the biggest category which requires its own blog piece but there’s a general rule of thumb as to who is an editor: they’re usually professionals and expensive.  

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When?

Honestly, it’s up to you. You can shove your first draft into your friend’s hands to read over, or you can rewrite it over and over to your heart’s content before getting beta readers. It doesn’t matter as long as it is when you are ready to do so. You can’t be still making plot changes if you’re also trying to get relevant and genuine feedback.

However, I’d leave anyone who requires paying until last, so that your work is actually the best it can be, because the shitter it is the more expensive it will be.

Reach out

Beta readers are literally anyone you can find reads. So reach out on all your social medias to find people willing to help you. They can even be friends and family. Preferably you don’t want too many as it will be hard to keep track of all the feedback but also don’t just choose anyone, make sure they at least have an interest in reading or else you are both wasting your time.

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Be nice to volunteers

I will say this slowly: Beta readers are using their free time to read over your work without pay. And for that you must love and respect them. They are amazing people trying to help you! Yes, not all of them are going to stick with it to the end and some of their feedback is not going to be so helpful, but it’s always important to be nice and civil with them because they have a right to just leave.

Research

When trying to find editors the first step is simple: look them up. All professional editors will have their own websites with their fees and contact information. But then you have to find the right one for you.

As I have stated above, editors are their own bag of fish, but they are plentiful and varied. It is important to take your time when researching editors. Some editors do the same amount of work for less, but you need to also see the books and works they have previously edited.

Conclusion

It’s always scary giving your work to another human being for the first time but I assure you, your work is nowhere near as bad as that voice in your head says it is. Good Luck Xx