Now, I imagine you’ve already got a pretty decent idea of your story’s plot by now. Maybe you’ve even got some scenes just waiting to be written floating about in your head. Now, it’s time to start planning.
- First of all, it’s a good idea to do a mind map of all your ideas for the story. This just makes sure you remember to include all the brilliant ideas you have, and you can keep adding to them as you go along.
Now you might be more organised than me, and have proper headers so everything related is sectioned off in its own little group. Perhaps you could colour-code.
Then again, maybe you’re terrible at mind-mapping. This is where the trusty internet comes in. You can search for templates and software that kind of do the dirty work for you (fab, I know!). Alternatively, you could get a massive sheet of paper and some sticky notes like these:
in all kinds of wonderful colours, write each idea on its own sticky note and stick it to the paper!
Of course, there are millions of other ways to get your ideas down somewhere permanent– a list, on your phone, in a word document… Just get everything down before you forget it.
- Next it’s time to organise these gazillion ideas. It’s time line time (hey, they’re good enough for historians). Here’s mine:
If you’re writing anything historical or need timing to be precise, you have to make sure the date you’re writing about actually existed. It sounds silly, but, seriously, those pesky leap years can wreak havoc if you’re trying to be specific about dates when you’re writing. Then, of, course, you have to consider the actual day of the week. I have this handy gadget on which you align the year, month, and date you’re looking at and it shows day it fell on/ will fall on:
Likelihood is, you don’t have one, but if necessary you can always Google the date and year you’re writing about and it’ll come up with which day it was/ will be.
Don’t think your first timeline will be your final copy– you’re probably going to have to switch ideas round. It doesn’t matter- that’s why you plan, right?
If you’re like me, and the events in your story take place over a short period of time (mine all occur over about a year), maybe you could use a diary plan? That might be easier, and you can easily buy a diary or download one off the internet. Microsoft Office has loads of diary plans for Excel, and I imagine whatever the Apple version has the same(?).
- So now you know when all the major events in your story occur and in which order. Thing is, your story can’t just exist of major events. If it did, it’d be pretty dynamic but your reader probably wouldn’t have a clue why all these events were happening. This is where minor scenes come in. They get your character/s from A to B and help the story flow better. They can be simply travelling from A to B, something that provokes event B, or something to show your character developing.
Remember when you planned your characters. You thought about their fears, their identity etc. Their identity in particular is useful here because it’s the front your character puts out to people, the thing that needs to change. But how do you change it? Well, you’ve done your interviews and character planning, you know where your character’s weaknesses are. You simply write a scene which aims to change that weakness. It’ll probably help them in the next major scene, and if you have scenes like this frequently you’ll have a clear character progression at the end of the story.
- Finally, to kind of collate all this, you should write a synopsis. This will give you a brief overview of what happens in your story, plus, think- if you ever decide to publish it, you’ll have a ready-made blurb!
- Make sure you get all your ideas down so you don’t forget to include anything.
- Organise them, perhaps using a timeline or a diary/calendar to get them in chronological order. If your story is historical or very specific about its time frame, be sure to remember to check what day of the week your dates fall on.
- You’re going to need some minor plot details to get your story moving from A to B; these are good opportunities for character development.
- Finally, write a synopsis to bring everything together.
I hope that’s been useful and it made sense! If you want to talk through your plot or you have any problems/ questions, please leave a comment below.