Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Why I Plot

I spend most of my year excited for November. Dreaming about November. Anticipating November. Because of the time I spend thinking about it, I also plan for November. In fact, I consider myself an obsessive planner.

I’ll work on my characters, and my character bios. I know their fears, their dreams, their goals, and their background stories. I plan my setting, draw out maps, name all of the places they frequent, just in case it comes up. I outline, and then I outline, then I outline again. I usually have about three outlines, each one expanding on the previous.

Why is this important?

Last month, I was able to write three different books in thirty days. I was able to start and throw out scene after scene, and it was because of my extensive planning. This year, I decided to go a step further and do a scene by scene plan. I’ve always had a detailed outline, but sometimes a section would last three or four scenes, and sometimes just one. I didn’t know whose point of view it would be in, and sometimes, I would get stuck just because I didn’t know how to transition from one scene to the next.

So this year, I decided to take my outline and turn it into a scene by scene. I used a spreadsheet for this one, numbered each scene, and then wrote who the point of view character was and exactly what was supposed to happen.

After that, I went to Scrivener, put that many scenes into the novel, and then wrote the scene synopsis as the title, and the detailed outline points in the notes section.

By the time November came, all I had to do was open Scrivener, start at scene one, read the outline of what should happen and write it. When I finished, the next scene was already set up for me.

It’s a lot of work, but the payoff is worth it. I love being an obsessive planner, because it means that I’m able to achieve my goals.