1. J.P.Clyde
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    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

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    It Just Comes To Me

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by J.P.Clyde, Aug 19, 2011.

    Is writing without a plan for your novel a bad idea?

    Someone recently told me that if I write whatever comes to my mind the plot will not come together and that I will not be writing very well. That I need at least plan the novel.

    But whenever I plan I lose interest. I like the idea of the story speaking to me.
     
  2. The_NeverPen
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    The_NeverPen Member

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    Nonsense. Just write. You will be revising it anyways, so why stifle your creative flow just because of what one little dung-puncher says?
     
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  3. walshy12238
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    walshy12238 Senior Member

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    I never used to plan my stories out at all, only in my head. I do now, but I just find it more convenient that way. By no means at all should you have to plan out your story, because like NeverPen said, you shouldn't stifle your creative flow. Maybe you just work better without planning? Everyone works in different ways, so do what you think is best :)
     
  4. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally, if I write without an outline the entire novel turns out to be utter nonsense. I outline because it works for me. But that doesn't apply to everyone so just go about it the way you want to. If you get to a point where you find you might need to begin outlining in advance then it's a decision you should make for yourself - don't let someone tell you how to write your novel as that's the fastest way to get frustrated. Explore different ways of going about writing a novel and you'll find a way that works best for you. :)
     
  5. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    Don't worry about it. I don't plan, and with a lot of revision, my stories make sense.

    However, when they first come out, they're absolute rubbish. You can't get discouraged by that--you can make them make sense.

    Rewrite, revise a ton, and then revise and rewrite more.

    Also, plan after you're through with your first draft. Once that creative spark that forced you to write it is gone, you've got nothing to lose by setting yourself up with a good plot outline and a decent structure :)
     
  6. J.P.Clyde
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    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

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    For me. It's like a movie is playing in my head from start to finish. I dream all what people would plan.

    What people would normally plan, I dream it or live it through this movie sequence in my head.

    I do more short stories than I do novels. But right now even the novel I have is a start, middle, and end in my own head.
     
  7. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is how I see a story too, except I write it down in the form of an outline first (these turn out to be 10-35k as I note down as much detail as I can - in a way it's almost like a first draft, but not quite) rather than trawling slowly through it. :)
     
  8. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    That kind of sounds like planning to me though. You just don't write it down in a plot outline. For me, I have so many ideas that I need to know I can get to the ending before I start writing. I always feel like I wasted my time if I start something and suddenly I just can't finish it. Have had too many of those stories through the years.
     
  9. Jayyy1014
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    Jayyy1014 Jerrica Contributor

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    I plan ahead. Right now I've been stuck on coming up with a fantasy novel idea for like 2-3 weeks now, but I know I'll come up with one soon.
     
  10. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    The quality of the writing doesn't depend on planning. Do minimal plans, I'd say, as then you have a basic framework. But as for the rest, just write: you come up with a lot more interesting ways to handle the story, much more interesting things to put in, and the writing is of superior quality, I think, when the writer writes what they want to write without consulting a plot or notepad every five seconds.
     
  11. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    When you can see the story playing in your mind that's way better than having even a detailed plan but no real inspiration. I personal love it when a story speaks to me.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't do much planning on paper. I prefer the freedom to switch tracks as I am writing.

    It's one of those things that vary widely among writers. Some plan meticulously, some map a general flight plan but adjust the route for weather or for scenery.
     
  13. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    What i do. Last night, i had a basic plan outline for a scene, and I went completely off after two pages, but it turned out really well.

    So , in other words, i do minimal planning, but often go off track. This is when editing comes in handy.

    Hope this helps! :)
     
  14. J.P.Clyde
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    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

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    I know exactly how this feels.

    @Everyone: Thank you for the comments
     
  15. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I plan, but not very far ahead. I think it's good to have some sort of outline, but by no means do you have to plan the whole novel out.
     
  16. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    I plan a lot but only so I don't forget what I'm doing and to avoid massive plotholes. It helps a lot because I can just do the scenes that come to me without doing it in any sensible order. But then once I've done a bit I realise the plan needs adapting... so it's pretty fluid. I think the right way to do it though is what works best for you.
     
  17. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't plan much. I start with characters and a situation, then write it and see what happens.

    Some famous writer, I forget who, said that your first draft is for finding out what your story is about. That's the way I treat it. Once your first draft is done, you've found your story and you can then craft it into a masterpiece in subsequent drafts.

    I remember reading a Paris Review interview with another famous writer (again, I can't remember who) who said he just started writing and made it longer and longer until something happens. I like that approach - it's so humble, yet it seems to get good results.

    At least for some people.
     
  18. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't plan other than "Hey, I've got an idea!". Then I start writing. I also revise and edit as I write, which definitely determines which direction(s) the story can go. Everything I write has to follow through on what I've already finished.
     
  19. nchahine
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    nchahine Member

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    I definitely outline and plan. I used to just write creatively, but I found the plot would wander here and there, stop to smell the roses, and eventually lose its way in the woods. So then I started planning.

    However, I don't think outlining and planning means you can't be creative. You've got it worked out in your head, but once you start actually writing you sometimes find other ways to work out a scene or expand on what you have. That's part of the creative process.
     
  20. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do this, sort of. I plan a few milestones the story should meet along the way, then fill in the blanks. The milestones for the current story is simply the start, finding a cursed gem in a cursed forest, climbing into a volcano, escaping sandworms in the desert, entering a haunted castle, defeating a dragon (or lich, vampire, zombie or whatever, being a "haunted" castle and all. Or an undead dragon, maybe.) :D and returning home to notice no one noticed they were even gone in the first place. And the way things are going, it might be a trilogy. The forest is book one, the desert book two and the castle book three. As for everything else that happens, I'll just have to improvize. :p
     
  21. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I don't plan at all. I just write. Usually I start with a scene that originally came to me, and then I start fleshing out the story around it on both sides. Where di the players making up that scene come from, where are they going etc. At some point though I reach a stage where a full grown story has appeared, and then is when the editing starts as I have to try and ensure plot continuity etc. That can be more tricky without a detailed plan, so as I write I usually keep a second folder in Word besides the story, with all the relevant facts to hold the story and the world together.

    Cheers.
     

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