Series Writing Your Novel: Planning your novel

In the month of November, thousands of writers come together to write a novel. This is the goal of NaNoWriMo, a writing competition that challenges writers to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. With that in mind, Livr(a) has prepared four posts with special tips for writing novels. Today we will talk about planning.

Many authors use the whole month of October to plan the story they will write in November. Others go without planning. No matter what kind of writer you are and what works for you, when you are writing a novel, that is, a longer narrative, it is always good to have some kind of planning.

Some things are essential to start planning your story and avoid looking at the pages later, thinking about surfing dogs, for hours on end. Here are five tips on what to decide before you start writing your scenes.

Setting: deciding on the setting of your story is very important and depending on where and when it happens, you will need a lot of research. Imagine that your story takes place in Paris, at the beginning of the 20th century. Certainly, you will need to gather information about what was happening in the wonderful city in order to set your story in the best possible way.

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Characters: we will have a post talking only about this, but it’s a fact that you need to have an idea of who your main characters and antagonists are and which conflicts they will go through. Don’t miss the next post with some tips on how to build characters that will captivate your readers! Having well constructed characters and knowing what the conflicts of the story are will give you an idea of where you are going with your narrative, which helps you avoid writer’s block.

Structure: Now that you know where you’re going with your narrative, decide how you’ll get there. What structure will you follow to tell your story? Some classic structures include the three-act structure and the hero’s journey. We will have a post about each of these structures, but know that Jane Austen’s novels, for example, follow the structure of three acts, with each act ending in some significant event. Fantasy books like The Hobbit and The Hunger Games follow the hero’s journey.

Decide the end of your story: know where you are going with your narrative include deciding the end of your story. Even before the beginning or the middle, decide on the end, so you will prepare the reader for the end of your book and will be able to think about the reading experience. Even if you have a plot-twist (something unexpected) at the end of your book, the reader must be guided for that plot-twist to make sense.

Write: Planning is wonderful, doing research encourages us to write and generates various ideas, but planning is not going to get your novel out of your imagination. Plan, but remember that you must also write. Some “problems” in the narrative will be solved when you have actually written them down. And always, always have fun with it!

Did you like our tips? Don’t miss the next posts of the “Writing Your Novel” series

See too: 5 tips to start writing your book today