Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Writing a Novel: Leaving the Planning Stage
It's that time again when the planning and outlining is beginning to wrap up and I'm soon going to have to jump in with that intimidating first line. There are still a few plot holes I need to fix, but I'm very excited to start the actual writing. I actually have a lot of confidence in this idea, which hasn't happened to me very much in the past.
One of the best ways I've found for me to plan a novel is to make a big long list of plot points. I can change things up as much as I want to and fill things in where needed, but the list acts as a kind of road map that helps me move from point A to point B to point C...you get the idea. I've put in quite a bit of time and thought into my current outline, because I've found that it causes me huge issues when it isn't developed enough. Clearly I'm a big planner.
I have two basic questions. What do you do as far as planning goes, and how do you know when its enough? I would love to know exactly what your outlining looks like. I just find learning about other writers processes fascinating, and besides, it might give us other writers some good ideas.
As far as how extensive planning should be, I'm sure there is a wide variety of opinions. Some people hardly plan at all and just go, which actually makes me slightly envious because I have no idea how they do it. Others make detailed chapter-by-chapter summaries. That takes too much time. But the question is, what kind of information MUST you have before you can start the novel? How detailed must your plot outline be before you know its strong enough to carry a novel?