Should You Plot and Plan, or Just Write Your Novel?

Planning a novel

Every book I write needs a different approach. Some writers write straight from their minds. One moment to the next. Others plan every detail, and there is all manner of methods in between. Now I don’t always plot out every detail; it depends on the book I’m writing. However, for my space thriller Assurity there are more than a few storylines to follow; a journey into deep space, a disaster on Earth; and an antediluvian background.

A character-driven drama involves more storylines, especially if it is going to continue a character’s back story and not kill him or her off.

“When beginning, throw your ideas on the wall with abandon. Don’t worry if you’re the only one who can understand them. Let your mind begin to connect the dots.”_AJB

The first image below shows my rough (throw your ideas on the wall) approach to Assurity-A Space Thriller. However, there is more here than one might imagine. I’m sorting out some of the thematic material and which characters I will hone in on. If you are writing a series, it may be important to look past the first book to Book Two or Book Three. Where is the story going to end? How? Every writer approaches the craft differently. For me, a story should bring you to an exciting climax so that you’re overlooking the precipice, hopefully leaving you thirsty for more.

As far as the diagrams are concerned, they go from basic to detailed. To be clear, not everyone likes to plot their stories. I do. Although recently completed a short novel now called Izzy the Bernese Mountain Dog, which I wrote as the book unfolded in my mind. I hope you enjoy this little insight into what it takes for me to produce a novel, which I hope is worthy of your readership.

First sketches of Assurity-A Sci-fi Thriller

Should You Plot And Plan, Or Just Write Your Novel?

Above is part of a very detailed outline (I know it’s hard to read) for an as-yet-to-be-published historical fiction novel named An American Psalm. Being a historical journey, there is great detail in the notes making sure that the novel is as accurate as possible. This is only step one before the actual writing of the first draft.

Hope this helps.

Anthony Barbera

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