โ€œIf your writing doesn't keep you up at night, it won't keep anyone else up eitherโ€
โ€” James M. Cain

Hello everyone! Today I want to talk about ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด as I think it is one of the most efficient ways to plan your novel and to make progress. Before we start, I feel like it's important to remind you all that every writer is different. Some are "plotters" and some are "pantsers," as it is commonly referred in the writing community. To explain: some writers prefer to write without much direction to see what they come up with, and some prefer to write detailed plans. I find it is easier to foreshadow, to utilize irony, and to make every minor and major detail in my story more cohesive if I write everything out. So here we go! Hope this helps.

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๐ˆ๐ง๐๐ž๐ฑ ๐‚๐š๐ซ๐๐ฌ

school, college, and notes image book and reading image

This works so well for me when I'm in the later stages of outlining. When you have so many scene ideas in your mind but you're not quite sure how to order them or how to get from one scene to the other, these will be your lifesaver.

I like to write out major plot points on index cards so that it's easy to sequence them. If you're able to see your story visually it will be so much easier to map out the flow. I even took it a step farther and taped my entire outline up on my wall. Yes, I look like a crazy conspiracy theorist (ironic, since my novel deals with a government conspiracy) but it has helped me so much. Totally worth it.

Brief note: this method is also helpful for writing your synopsis.

๐๐จ๐จ๐ค๐ž๐ง๐ ๐Œ๐ž๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐

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Another method I personally use. This is especially helpful if, like me, you're writing a series. Usually, you will have some idea of where you want your story to begin and where you want it to end. I've mentioned in previous articles that it has helped me a lot to write my ending first, then my beginning, then fill in everything between. I think it is nice knowing what you're leading up to, which can also help with utilizing things like foreshadowing a lot more than you might think.

๐„๐ฑ๐ฉ๐š๐ง๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง

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In this method, you start out with a very minuscule idea and, as the method name states, you expand on it slowly. I'll use my story as an example. My main character has a purple question mark tattooed on her wrist. Using the expansion method I could start with that, then expand to ๐˜„๐—ต๐˜† does she have it. Then further, write out ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐˜ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜†, and so on and so forth until you finally grow to have an entire plot. This one does take a lot of time, so keep that in mind.

๐’๐ค๐ž๐ฅ๐ž๐ญ๐จ๐ง

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I really like this method a lot, and not just for the fact that it has a really cool name. Essentially, you vaguely write out your beginning, end, and fill in any scenes that you already know of and eventually add in more. It's called the skeleton because it doesn't have much flesh. It's like saying "this thing happens" without much direction on how it happens yet. This is a good method for those who have a really clear idea of ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ you want to write, but not so much the ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜„. It's a lot like the bookend method, except you only really have concepts rather than fully fleshed out scene ideas.

๐๐ฎ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐š๐ง๐ ๐€๐ง๐ฌ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ

book, aesthetic, and brown image book, brown, and dark image

This is great for very ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—น๐˜† ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€, like, you probably don't have much except for a few character ideas and a vague concept, you just know you want to write a story. That's totally fine! Here are some questions that you should write out and answer to get some clarity and direction of your story.

๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด?
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ต?
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ?
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ธ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ?
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ?

Those are just a few. I think keeping it simple like this helps keep morale up. When you start simple and slowly make it more complex, it will feel much more manageable.

๐œ๐ก๐š๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ-๐๐ซ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ง

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Have well-developed characters but absolutely no plot? That's okay! This was where I was at before sitting down and writing my book. I personally think that the best stories are those where the characters drive the plot, so don't fret, you've already done the hard part.

In this method, write down your main character(s) and ask yourself these questions.

๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ช๐˜ณ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ?
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ช๐˜ณ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด?
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฃ๐˜บ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜บ?
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜บ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ?
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ณ๐˜บ?
๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜บ ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฃ๐˜บ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ?

Look at your answers and figure out what kind of plot will help that character shine and grow to be the vision that you want your readers to see them as. You'll be surprised how this will help you come up with ideas.


I hope you enjoyed this article and that it was helpful to you! Please feel free to reach out at my Instagram or email if you have any questions, requests, or just want to talk! My messages are not working, so unfortunately we are going to have to be creative in the way we collaborate :)

my instagram: www.instagram.com/elodieiver
my email: elodieiver@gmail.com

elodie iver
elodie iver
@authorelodie  
If you didn't know, I wrote a book! And the next one is coming very soon so feel free to follow along on my journey.

Cover image: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/762023199440988404/

We Heart It Gazette
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