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  • Nicole Meier

Four Steps to Planning Your Novel

Wondering how to plan your novel writing?

When someone muses about being creative, their first thought isn't typically about the PLANNING of it. It's about the doing. And yet...⁠ ⁠

Without a plan, your novel writing process runs the risk of failing.⁠ ⁠Not the good kind of failing, where we, as writers, craft and revise and learn from our mistakes. ⁠⁠I'm talking about the kind where all of that good passion and creative drive fizzles out almost as soon as it starts, because there simply isn't a clear roadmap on how to proceed.⁠ ⁠

If you have a great book idea but feel stalled out at the midpoint,⁠ or perhaps the story isn't flowing on the page the way it is in your head⁠, or maybe the next steps are simply a mystery,⁠ ⁠I recommend incorporating a little PLANNING into your process. ⁠ Check out the following steps and think about ways you might prepare (before you fly by the seat of your pants).⁠ ⁠Save yourself from multiple manuscript iterations on the back end by doing a little prep work on the front end. ⁠

1) Allow yourself the freedom to brainstorm without self-editing

  • set a timer and freewrite

2) Research your genre

  • read widely, take courses, join a genre-specific writing community

3) Craft a big-picture summary

  • include main characters and major plot points

4) Refine this into a chapter-by-chapter outline

  • list each scene and its point

Once planning feels complete, you're ready to start writing your first draft. (Bonus tip: don't forget to plan your writing time too!)

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