Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Planning a Story

Story Planning.

Okay, so you have your idea. You have your characters in your head.

Now you need to know what they will be doing.

Pantser or Planner?

You can be as rigorous or as relaxed in your planning as you like.  Some writers prefer not to plan at all. They prefer to write the story as it comes into their head. 'Pantsers', they're called.

Advantages of Planning:

  • You keep focused on your story
  • You avoid having to do extensive, time-consuming re-writes
  • You know what will happen in advance, so your story will have cohesion.
  • You can get bored, because there's nothing unexpected going on.

Advantages of Pantser-ism: 

  • Your story will be spontaneous. If you, the author, doesn't know what will happen next, you can be sure your readers won't, either.
  • Your story may be more original.
  • Your characters are free to do what comes naturally to them.

Techniques for Planning:

  1. Storyboard, chapter by chapter or scene by scene
  2. Outline (using bullet points) chapters.
  3. Diagram the plot against the narrative arc (the tension that rises and fall throughout the story).

My Technique:

Personally, I plan in a very rough way.

I draw pictures of the main story events (With my left, non-dominant hand because apparently this makes the right side of my brain work harder. I don't really believe this is actually the case, but its kind of fun. Although the pictures really suck).

I end up with a series of pictures. I call these 'Plot Points'. These are crucial moments or important scenes. Then I write the text to get to these Points.

In A Necklace of Souls, the biggest Plot Point was the ending - where Dana, my heroine, has to fight black-clad soldiers in a forest.

This works for me.

So, my conclusion: There is no right or wrong way.