How To Plan A Novel

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a huge planner when it comes to writing.

I tend to go in with an idea in place, but how the characters get there… well, I tend to let them decide for themselves.

But that doesn’t mean if you do it a different way that it’s wrong, or that my way is wrong either.

No, it just means that we both plan differently – and that’s cool.

Tips for planning your novel

Know how your novel’s going to end

One of the biggest things to remember when planning is that it’s probably a good idea to have a solid ending in place.

I know this, because I’ve been that person who has stories that just keep flowing and twisting and turning – and it’s almost like I’ve not even written them myself sometimes.

Having an end goal in mind is the best way to ensure you get there. And it’ll also help you to trim down on those pesky plot holes that appear sometimes too.

Understand your characters

For a plot to work and be believable, the characters acting it out for you also need to be viable. For example, you can’t have someone do something that totally contradicts their personality – your readers will pick up on it.

So much so that it’ll actually take the attention away from your story line and stick out like a big ol’ sore thumb. It’ll also take away from the believable nature of your story – so keep an eye out.

Outline each chapter if you need to

There’s no right or wrong way to plan, it’s all about working out what’s best for you. And if that means planning each chapter as you work, then go for it!

A chapter by chapter plan can help keep you focused and push your story on. It might also help reduce the amount of days when you’ve got writers block.

If the story’s already laid out, all you need to do is colour in the detail.

Remember, you can throw the plan out the window, too


Say you’re half way through writing something, and suddenly this fantastic idea rears its head.

You’re excited! You want to get it in there, but hold on… it doesn’t fit in with the original plan you had…

Well, don’t be afraid to throw the old plan away. No writer gets it right the first time. If you need to cut scenes, add scenes, change direction – do it. Trust your instincts. And even if it seems like the biggest load of hard work going to rewrite and shape it – still make those changes and alter your story till your new idea fits 100%.

Only then will you have a believable novel in your hands, and most importantly, one that you truly believe in yourself.

That’s all for now. Do you have any unusual planning habits? Or do you throw caution to the wind and dive in? I want to know! Leave a comment and let’s discuss.

If you’d like some more writing advice, why don’t you check out my post on character creation?



One Comment Add yours

  1. C.S. Wilde says:

    I’m a fierce defender of proper outline : )

    Liked by 1 person

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