When you first get an idea for a story pumping through your veins it can be exhilarating. A new world, new characters, and new plot twists all just waiting to be explored. For some, they just start writing whatever comes to mind, and that works for them. For others there’s a planning stage where they outline, build the world, and create character bios. And some others do a mix a both.
How you approach your story is unique to you. It’s your writing and your process. What works for one may not work for another. When I first started out I would just write as the story came to me, and for the most part that worked. As I developed my writing skills though, I gradually began planning out some of the scenes I knew I wanted included. This is mostly because I was frustrated with having fix plot holes. Now, as I find a new story coursing through my veins, I find myself want to plan it all.
One of the biggest problems I’ve had in the past with the planning stage is that somewhere along the way I would get discouraged. I would feel like the story was being exhausted simply by outlining it. So this time I’ve planned out my planning stage.
The biggest keys to planning your world are outlining, character creation, and worldbuilding. Each of these can be done individually, but sometimes you need certain information from one area before you can plan another. For instance, you want a particular scene to happen, but you don’t know if the character involved would react the way you see the scene playing out. In this case you would need the character’s bio before adding the scene to the outline.
At the time of this post I have marked out some of the important plot points at the beginning of the story, including some possible subplot points, and I’ve created five small character bios. That is, I have their name and one paragraph of their back ground. And, although not written down, I have some base ideas for the world that the story takes place in. Names of countries/ kingdoms and a couple cities, as well as some societal structure and culture for one of the countries.
Spreading out my time this way, working on each of the three steps a little each day, has worked so far. For me, I think this is what I need to keep from losing interest in the story as I work all the pieces together. I sit down at my desk every day, put on some music, and write.
If you’re just starting out, or you’ve gotten stalled in your story, experiment a little. Try approaching it from a different angle. Don’t try to force it all out at once, but in incriments. Or maybe write a particular scene from another character’s perspective, or revisit a charcter’s bio. There may be something you missed that can give you the little push you need. Whatever you do, just write.