Writing Hint #41: Plan, plan, plan.

Few people would begin a major project like building a house without first creating a comprehensive plan, though I have seen a few buildings that seem so haphazard no designer could have been involved. A detailed plan is essential to the final product.

What makes writing any different? I must admit that I often approach my writing in a quite haphazard way. I sometimes just start writing and hope that something good comes of my efforts. That’s fine with short pieces, like a short story, a blog post or a letter, for example. A long novel of one or two hundred thousand words is entirely a different matter. Planning is essential. Without planning the story could go anywhere – and probably will.

Many writers probably envy J.K. Rowling and her runaway successful Potter series. A casual glance may bring one to the conclusion that her success was an overnight phenomenon. Not so. After having the initial inspiration for the story she spent FIVE YEARS planning the saga of Harry Potter. FIVE YEARS. That was before she even wrote a single word of the story. In those five years she meticulously planned every detail of the plot, the characters, the system of magic, the system of government and education and many more things that go to make a successful story. In effect she created a whole new world in her imagination and then transferred that fantasy world into her notes. Once that was done, the fantasy must have literally jumped on to the page as she wrote.

The Writing Process

Planning is just the first step to successful writing. According to one article I read recently, the writing process has four major steps:

  1. Planning
  2. Writing
  3. Rewriting
  4. Editing

Mmmm – this is turning out to be the first article of a series of blog posts.

Funny about that – I hadn’t planned it that way!

Good writing.

Further reading:

  • Writing Hints – dozens of articles I’ve written about improving your writing.
 

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