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Old August 1st, 2009, 12:31 am
Meggy  Female.gif Meggy is offline
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Planning Your Novel

Hi.
Im currently writing a Novel. I've chosen NOT to discuss it with this forum, nor any other forum. No offence to anyone, I haven't even discussed it with friends and family, it's entirely secret and Im working on it.

I want to bring your attentions to the PLANNING of a novel. How long does it take you to plan it? For example, I started my planning for my novel a good month, possibly two month ago now. Im not even half way through it.
I've built up quite a good plot I think, though some elements I know will have to be changed aswell as the characters. I think I've made them too perfect and not flawed enough, but I intend to change that after my first plan is completely done, then I'll review it all and change things again and again until Im happy with it, but I have the main piece of plot to work with.

Im wondering how long do you plan it for? Is 2 month an unnatural amount of time to not even nearly be finished planning? There's no rush for me to do it, but I believe if Im really serious about writing it I have to be patient, despite being desperate to just start the actual writing.


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  #2  
Old August 1st, 2009, 12:24 pm
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Re: Planning Your Novel

As you haven't given any details about your plot, historical or modern day, mythological ideas, etc it makes it a bit difficult to give you a guess.

A lot of time can be taken up by research and it really needs to be done thoroughly, or to the best you can achieve with the information avaliable to you. Whether it be historical occurances, places, or mythology. When something was invented, for instance, your character can't have a particular device, if it's not invented yet, or if it's relatively new and slightly out of their prize range.

I usually find characters develop and grow as you write. I find it best to let them spread their wings rather than force them into a shoe box representing the original intent.

Best of luck with your writing!



Last edited by Annielogic; August 1st, 2009 at 12:28 pm.
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Old August 1st, 2009, 12:51 pm
Meggy  Female.gif Meggy is offline
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Re: Planning Your Novel

Hi.
Wow, thankyou! I think I've been focusing so much on the actual planning and getting everything perfect, maybe I should let the characters spread their wings slightly and see which direction I naturally go with them, rather than forcing them to be a certain way.

It's going to be set in Modern times, so 2009. But because Im obviously writing it in 2009, I don't think by the time I finish it, it will still be 2009. I mean, J.k Rowling took 5 years I believe to finish the first Harry Potter book? Now, not that Im expecting this to be as big, but I do hope I get to publish something and the only way I can do that is through really fleshing out the plot and making sure it can work.

Thanks for your advice, I will take on board everything you said.
Meg
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Old August 1st, 2009, 12:54 pm
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Re: Planning Your Novel

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Originally Posted by Meggy View Post
Hi.
Im currently writing a Novel. I've chosen NOT to discuss it with this forum, nor any other forum. No offence to anyone, I haven't even discussed it with friends and family, it's entirely secret and Im working on it.

I want to bring your attentions to the PLANNING of a novel. How long does it take you to plan it? For example, I started my planning for my novel a good month, possibly two month ago now. Im not even half way through it.
I've built up quite a good plot I think, though some elements I know will have to be changed aswell as the characters. I think I've made them too perfect and not flawed enough, but I intend to change that after my first plan is completely done, then I'll review it all and change things again and again until Im happy with it, but I have the main piece of plot to work with.

Im wondering how long do you plan it for? Is 2 month an unnatural amount of time to not even nearly be finished planning? There's no rush for me to do it, but I believe if Im really serious about writing it I have to be patient, despite being desperate to just start the actual writing.
Depends on who the writer is. Stephen King doesn't plan beyond the bare bones which accounts for his books often taking turns that leave plot holes to be ironed out in rewrites.

Clive James on the other hand does outline but warns that the world is full of novel plans which are perfect and intricate and perfectly useless as the writer spent all their time on the plan and not enough on actually writing the book.


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Old August 1st, 2009, 10:18 pm
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Re: Planning Your Novel

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Originally Posted by Meggy View Post
Hi.
Wow, thankyou! I think I've been focusing so much on the actual planning and getting everything perfect, maybe I should let the characters spread their wings slightly and see which direction I naturally go with them, rather than forcing them to be a certain way.

It's going to be set in Modern times, so 2009. But because Im obviously writing it in 2009, I don't think by the time I finish it, it will still be 2009. I mean, J.k Rowling took 5 years I believe to finish the first Harry Potter book? Now, not that Im expecting this to be as big, but I do hope I get to publish something and the only way I can do that is through really fleshing out the plot and making sure it can work.

Thanks for your advice, I will take on board everything you said.
Meg
X
You're welcome!

I just thought of something else . . .

I realise you wish at the present time to keep your story secret. It might be an idea for you to consider having a proofreader, someone you trust. They can catch whether a conversation seems to stilted or staged and doesn't flow naturally. Even a nervous/shy conversation has a certain natural quality. They can catch plot holes or any disconnect within the storyline. As a writer, you know your intent and what you wish to communicate, and a proofreader will let you know if they are getting a different impression.

If you let your proofreader go through the story like an ordinary reader and not prompt them, just take note of their feedback, you can see how the possible thought processes of protential reader.

Be prepared for constructive criticism, you can learn a great deal from it.


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  #6  
Old December 17th, 2009, 3:03 pm
HarryXGinny4evr  Undisclosed.gif HarryXGinny4evr is offline
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Re: Planning Your Novel

I never plan out my stories. I sort of just let them come. I know this probably isn't good, but I don't even know how to plan out a story.


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Old December 17th, 2009, 6:27 pm
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Re: Planning Your Novel

I wouldn't say that is an unnatural amount of tie spent planning.

I spend maybe a month or less doing mine...but when I start I usually stay at it until I finish it.

I believe it took J.K. Rowling a long time to plan the Harry Potter series.

@HarryXJennyforever. Just brainstorm. Outline events that happen in chronological order in a brief way.


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Old December 19th, 2009, 4:45 am
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Re: Planning Your Novel

I don't really plan. Since I write historicals, I do spend a lot of time on research and do a timeline as I go. Come to think of it, that's how I did my papers in college, too. But as I write, something else might come up that I have to research further. I've also learned to make notes on my timeline as the characters change so I can easily check back to make sure I don't repeat myself. (Beta readers will be a help with that, too)

My characters are bare bones and they react to the events around them. That makes them learn and grow. Here's a partial review that I'm very proud of.

[The author] presents the main two characters and they are less than 100% likable. However as they overcome hardships and meet new challenges in a very short period of time, they grow-up. And they become much more likable to each other as well as to the reader.

That's why I believe that the characters need to lead the story themselves. They tell me what's in their minds and hearts and I just try to keep up.

You can prepare a complete outline with characters and plots, but you need to be ready to change and move in different directions as unexpected things happen.

Good luck.


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Old December 20th, 2009, 8:54 pm
HarryXGinny4evr  Undisclosed.gif HarryXGinny4evr is offline
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Re: Planning Your Novel

Since I last wrote in this topic, i've began planning a novel I want to write, though I can not come up with a good plot. I'm sure it'll come to me sometime, but i'm finding it easier to plan it out now instead of trying to figure everything out later.


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Old January 24th, 2010, 7:23 pm
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Re: Planning Your Novel

The only novel I ever tried to write, I started by writing down the first several pages. I then wrote some scenes that followed the first one, and a number of different scenes from various points later in the story idea I had. So I guess I spend zero hours planning before writing.

On the other hand, once I had started, I also spent time thinking up names for characters I already had roles for in the plot (some scenes I wrote included actions by characters with names like X and Y ), creating maps of locations important to the action, deciding how magic works in my world (this was a fantasy novel), and so on.


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  #11  
Old February 22nd, 2010, 5:02 am
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Re: Planning Your Novel

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Originally Posted by HarryXGinny4evr View Post
I never plan out my stories. I sort of just let them come. I know this probably isn't good, but I don't even know how to plan out a story.
You're in good company:

"Don't just plan to write – write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style." -- PD James


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Old March 21st, 2010, 9:30 pm
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Re: Planning Your Novel

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Originally Posted by HarryXGinny4evr View Post
I never plan out my stories. I sort of just let them come. I know this probably isn't good, but I don't even know how to plan out a story.
I know that this sounds weird, but those 3" by 5" note cards that you find really help. what you do is you write down the big events that have to happen in the novel. As you put them in order, you can add some more events, or take some away. If you plan on trying to get it published, it's good to plan. I know an author who never plans, and ends up re-writing her entire story all the time.


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  #13  
Old October 7th, 2010, 12:39 pm
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Re: Planning Your Novel

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Originally Posted by Wab
"Don't just plan to write – write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style." -- PD James
That's true.. to an extent. In my life I planned around six novels, but I only wrote one of them and I didn't even finish it. But I still think that one should have a clear idea of what they're going to write. Without doing that, I think the novel just turns out to be lame, no interesting plot twists, sub plots, or character development.

I'm currently planning a new novel, which I'm intending to write in November. I had its idea in my head for a long time, but there are some things that I need to read about, ideas that come into my head that I need to write down before they fly away.


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Old October 10th, 2010, 10:25 pm
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Re: Planning Your Novel

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That's true.. to an extent. In my life I planned around six novels, but I only wrote one of them and I didn't even finish it. But I still think that one should have a clear idea of what they're going to write. Without doing that, I think the novel just turns out to be lame, no interesting plot twists, sub plots, or character development.
I think it depends on the writer, though - some people find that the plot twists, subplots, character development etc comes to them as they're writing (although, they may then have to go back and extensively rewrite stuff later). Others prefer to plan ahead minutely. I don't think there is any one right way that works for everyone.

It's like exams - they always tell you that you should write a plan before you start answering the questions. I even told my students that. But the truth is, when I took exams when I was younger, I never bothered with a plan and I still did all right. It's what works for you.

I've never come close to finishing a novel, but I have written short stories and plays and although I like to have some idea of where I'm going, I don't necessarily need a written plan and if I plan too thoroughly, I'm too bored to finish the thing. For me, it's important to leave myself enough latitude for surprise to keep me interested. But that's just me.


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Old October 11th, 2010, 4:07 am
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Re: Planning Your Novel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meggy View Post
I want to bring your attentions to the PLANNING of a novel. How long does it take you to plan it? For example, I started my planning for my novel a good month, possibly two month ago now. Im not even half way through it.
I've built up quite a good plot I think, though some elements I know will have to be changed aswell as the characters. I think I've made them too perfect and not flawed enough, but I intend to change that after my first plan is completely done, then I'll review it all and change things again and again until Im happy with it, but I have the main piece of plot to work with.

Im wondering how long do you plan it for? Is 2 month an unnatural amount of time to not even nearly be finished planning? There's no rush for me to do it, but I believe if Im really serious about writing it I have to be patient, despite being desperate to just start the actual writing.
Writing is an art, not a science. It takes as long as it takes.

I find that when I am planning my novels that I like to start with several scenes that I think can be really good for developing the story. To give examples from Star Wars, The droids being bought by Uncle Owen, the escape from Mos Eisley, the rescue of Leia/death of Obi Wan and the battle of yavin are examples. After that, I come up with ideas to fill in the gaps, so the story can progress from one scene to the next. After that, I fill up the gaps with scenes that allow for character development. This gives me a good idea how the story fits together, yet also allows me to be flexible enough to change the story if it is needed.


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Old May 25th, 2012, 6:37 pm
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Re: Planning Your Novel

This is a non-answer because I stand by the philosophy that you should bypass anything more complicated than a simple Beginning-middle-end and character map. I think that by doing that, that you allow sudden inspiration to take its place, and when you reach the end, a wrench can always be thrown in based off how you feel.


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Old May 30th, 2012, 4:22 am
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Re: Planning Your Novel

I never plan my novels. I'm definitely a pantser, not a planner.

I knew how my last novel was going to end, but not how it was going to happen until I was writing the last two pages. Somehow, it always seems to work out.

Nothing wrong with planning, if that's what works for you.


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Old October 21st, 2012, 1:07 am
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Re: Planning Your Novel

For everyone it's different: some people plan for a long time (I read an interview in which a junior-chapter book author planned and researched her novel for a whole year before writing a single word), some people plan a little bit and some people don't plan at all.

Personally, I prefer to have a pretty decent plan/outline of where the story is going, major plot-points, characters and their profiles, the back-story, random tidbits and a decent idea of the setting and what it looks like. I usually give myself a few of weeks to plan it all out in a very 'rough-draft' type manner and I only get as detailed with certain aspects as I think is important (for ex. I may write a long bio for one of the major characters, and a not so detailed bio of another major character). But I find that the more detailed I try to get, the more difficult the process becomes, so I only manage to get so many details in before I get tired of the planning/outlining process and move on to the writing.

But even after I've started the writing process, I might still go back and add more details to the outline when I think of something. In the end, my outline is a big, unorganized mess but I still find it helpful.


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Old October 22nd, 2012, 3:06 pm
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Re: Planning Your Novel

Scrivener coupled with Aeon Timeline is a great way to keep organized. I don't use it myself since I write mainly novellas, but it's great for full-length works.

One of my favorite authors writes epic sci-fi/fantasy and uses both of them to very good effect.


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Old December 6th, 2012, 2:08 am
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Re: Planning Your Novel

I've been planning my novel for about a year and a half now and only have about 2000 words written on it.

I keep pretty much all of my planning details in my head. I have the first chapter outlined, and then general plot points I want to happen through the course of the novel. My problem right now is characterization and dialogue. I have basic traits and personalities for the main characters, but figuring out exactly how they interact with each other causes me a lot of writer's block.


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