V.E.D.August 3

Plotting & Planning for Writing

I’m getting sick. In August. In Texas. I can hear it in my voice. Or maybe it’s just really bad allergies. Yes. I like that better.

Further Clarification: I don’t plot out or even know of every scene that happens in a book. I know the major scenes, including the opening, the point of no return, the complication(s), the climax, and the ending. I do know extensive character histories, and while I know most of those details will never be explicitly put into the book, they do define and shape character arcs. The details and the connecting scenes remain a mystery until I am at that section of the book — sections begin and end with the major moments I knew before drafting.

#nalitchat was a total blast last night, and I’m still very encouraged by the smart & curious discussions that take place during that chat event. If you missed it, read the transcript here.

Leave comments about your plotting & planning process — it really is one of my most favorite things to discuss about the writing process.



  1. When it comes to plotting, I’m really on the fence.
    I’ve tried being a pantser and I’ve tried being a plotter and neither of them really worked. I’m guess I’m one of those in the middle.
    When I first tried plotting scene by scene, I found that, after having fun with the outline, I didn’t feel like writing the thing. I mean, I already the whole story there, before me. Yes, not extended and with perks and shines and great moment, but, reading the outline I could see all the scenes in my head and realized it was no fun to write what I had already “written” (written in my mind, but still).
    When I first try pantsing 100%, it went nowhere. Around 15k-20k, I realized the story didn’t have a main goal, a focus, I was just throwing things in it and it was a mess. Or, there were scenes, that were exactly the opposite: nothing happened. They character would talk about their lifes, or the star-crossed lovers would have a moment, but it didn’t really do anything for the story.
    So, what I’ve been doing now, and it has worked so far is to fill in the beatsheet of Save The Cat! book … it gives me directions, I know what should happen at some point, but I don’t have outline of scenes that will risk having me not wanting to write them later.
    What else do I do before start writing: come up with heroine, hero and antagonist backstory and goals/motivations. And also come up with a cast of characters that will help tell the story. Of course, it happens of having a little character who doesn’t make into the story or having one show up out of nowhere.
    And then I just roll with it 😉

    • I should clarify, I don’t outline scenes. I also don’t know all the scenes that will exist. I know, usually, the big 8 – 10 that include the opening, point of no return, complications, climax, and ending. Like I said, I don’t know the details, only the major dots.
      I do know pretty extensive character backgrounds, and I know most of that will never end up in the novel explicitly but it does influence each character’s individual arc.

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