The Writing Process: Planning/outlining

Right, so we have an idea of what the novel’s going to be about, now we go to the next step: planning. I’ll go through the steps, then tell you what I do for my writing.

Planning is simply the next step in brainstorming. You get a more detailed look at your characters and plot line. Some writers take months of planning before they even begin to write. Once the outline is down, and you know what you’re doing and where your story is going, get out that computer or paper (good luck with that) and get that mind pumping! That leads onto the next part of novel writing: the first draft. I’ll talk about that in the next post.

So, what do I do when it comes to planning and outlining. I personally don’t write outlines for my novels, just because I find them too limiting. When I write, I want the story to drive itself, not be driven by an outline that could be changed later on. As for planning, I find that each time I plan, the story takes off in a direction I never thought it would, so planning  just ends up being a waste of time.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t plan at all. For my WiP I took about a month to brainstorm and plan before I got to work on the first draft. You can’t go in with nothing, so I start with just a brief outline, and then I write it.

But it’s all up to you. If an outline works for you, go for it! If it doesn’t, that’s great as well! Everyone writes differently. Everyone has their own voice, which is another thing I want to quickly touch on. Don’t do something, just because someone else says it’s the right thing to do. If you find it comfortable writing without an outline, don’t listen to people who say that you must use one. If you feel comfortable writing in parts, don’t listen to people who say you must write in chronological order.

For people who don’t spend their time writing, you must take all fact from the Word of God, and what people say as opinion. No one can truly know the Word without guidance from the Holy Spirit. I say this because a lot of people, including me, are quite gullible, and will believe anything they hear if it agrees with their views, or more actually, their heart’s desires. If what the person is saying doesn’t agree with what they think is right, they will usually disregard that person.

For an example, my family was listening to this pastor who said that rock music is cursed. I love rock music, but I don’t think it was completely wrong what he was saying. Rock can be cursed, but it can also be used for God’s glory, it all depends on what the musicians make of it, and not on the music itself.

So back to planning. I get a lot of people who tell me I should plan for the future. Really, I have no idea what I’m doing in the future. I could be an astronaut for all I know (little fun fact, that’s what I wanted to be when I was little), it all depends on where the Lord wants you. And where the Lord wants you, is where you should want to go. We’re given grace for each day, not for the future, for today, so instead of living in fear of the future, live with all you got right now.

The best outline you can follow is the Word of God, for both writing and living.

God Bless, hope this helps!