There are, essentially, two schools of writer – those who begin a plot, and those who begin with their characters. We’ll dig into characterisation a little later, but today, we focus on plot.
Not everyone plots every details of their story in advance. Some prefer to draft of a vague concept and see where the story takes them. But there is no doubt that you do need some idea of your plot before you get writing. The more complicated your setting, the bigger your cast, the more important it is to know exactly what part each person plays before you even start.
A very famous example of a thorough notemaker is Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series. He kept such precise notes of his world, his characters and his plot, that when he tragically passed away, leaving his series unfinished, another talented author, Brandon Sanderson, was able to step in and complete the series.
James Patterson is another celebrated plotter. His ability to put together a complete, concise plot means that his notes can be passed on to collaborators and ghost writers in order to keep up with the demand for his books.
A well thought out plot makes it that much easier to write your first draft. So where do you start?
We’ve put together a few resources to help you think through your plot before you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).
- Here, Chuck Wendig explores different ways to go about plotting (in his usual mildly offensive manner, so be warned).
- The Writer’s Workshop gives you some theory on plotting and plot fattening.
- A surface view of basic plotting requirements and the gaps you’ll need to fill when plotting, by Novel Writing Help.
- Lynn Viehl leads by example.
- And finally, you will find a handy plotting worksheet here.
Happy plotting, one and all!