Sunday, February 21, 2010

How Do You Plan?

All authors are different. Some outline before writing their books, some write-as-they-go, use plot skeletons, etc. There are many fun ways authors have planned their books. Robin Jones Gunn (author of the Christy Miller series) says before she starts writing she cuts people out of magazines and ask them what they want. She glues their pictures in a certain binder and works with her characters that way. Eventually the storyline creates itself. What do you do? Do you have a special formula for creating the perfect story, or do you just let the story flow as you type?

Some other questions to answer: Do you create a playlist for your novel? Do you research scenery or symbols that relates to your story? How do you stay organized?

Comment below and read other's responses to get a few ideas. :)


  1. I just think of a plot, and write. As I write, I listen to either emotional or up-beat music depending on how I want the part in my book to feel.

    Thanks for the ideas!

  2. I find with every story, my method is a bit different :) I'm more of a seat-of-the-pants type of writer... I like the freedom of just letting the story take me where it wants, and writing whatever comes to mind. But lately, I've been plotting a lot more, and I do like the confidence in having some idea where my story is going :)

    This month, I've been trying to write a first draft in 30 days, using Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. She has writing worksheets to fill out every day, and questions to answer about your characters and plot, so that's really helped me!

    One kind of fun thing I do, is for every major (and often minor, as well) characters, I'll find a celebrity picture that 'looks' like my character. It helps me to visualize it, and definitely helps with the descriptions. Plus, it's fun! ;)

  3. Mia, I might look into getting that book. I'm trying to write a novel right now within a month also, so that would definitely help. :)

    For me, I usually plan the plot storyline before beginning the novel, but don't outline. For the novel I'm working on now, though, I'm doing it a little different. I have a "sketched outline", which isn't detailed at all. With that, I write a couple chapters through "telling" instead of "showing". Then once I see that this is how I want the chapter, I re-write the scenes through "showing". It's helping a lot, and is a great way to avoid writers block.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. I never approach a new idea the same way twice. It does help me, though, to plot out the problem, crisis, and climax (though these things sometimes change).

  5. Hey Tessa! Thanks for linking me :)

    When I'm starting a novel, I open a blank notepad file and write down all my thoughts. Usually ideas come from a random phrase I think would be a good title for a novel, or a first line that pops into my head (which never ends up being the final first line!) This stage is my favorite part, but I've been trying to do less plotting in order to leave some of the more exciting parts for later (and subsequently not risk writer's block.)

    I do have a playlist for my novel. Lots of movie of my favorites is the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack.

    I like that idea from Robin Jones Gunn! I think I might try it myself ;)

  6. I usually select one song to speak to the whole novel. I rip pictures from magazines and take copious notes too. I also make sure I can tolerate my characters for the duration b/c between writing and editing they usually stick around for quite some time.
    ~ Wendy

  7. Hello there, I just arrived here from the Meditations of His Love blog and I wanted to say that we appreciate your following MOHL. If you'd like, drop by my personal blog. BY the way, I like your blog.=)

    Elizabeth J.

  8. Tessa, I wanted to let you know that I gave you an award on my blog Woven by Words. Have a great weekend!!



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