Do you pre-plan your plot out or does the story just happen as your write?

@Awinds (2472)
United States
August 3, 2011 1:45am CST
For those who write novels, short stories or other types of fiction: do you create an articulate outline of your plot? Do you plan the entire story out ahead of time or do you just start writing and let the story form as you go? If you do plan it all out, does your story stick to the blueprint or go off in a direction of its own? If you do not start out with plot plan or outline, do you plan parts of your story out ahead of time later on or do you continue to develop the story as you go? Bottom line: Are you a pre-planner or a go with the flow story writer? :)
2 people like this
7 responses
• Philippines
4 Aug 11
I usually have an outline when I'm writing a story. When I'm brainstorming, ideas are flooding in my head and it's hard to keep them connected and comprehensible. I write all the things done, even considerations, assumption, the works. Besides, I hate to forget a good idea that can actually help me in the every aspect of the story. I try to plan and iron things out but there are times when I am writing it or shy of submitting, that I change some factors (a good reason why my stories are never finished in my opinion). If somebody like the work well enough and have some revisions as it is, I abandon or pick other ideas for use in another story or work. At least the ideas are being used. For me, it sorely depends on when a good idea comes to my head. It can be at the middle of writing or in the planning stage. If I can squeeze it when planning or while actually writing, I will squeeze it. Any idea is a a good idea as long as it works for the story.
1 person likes this
@Awinds (2472)
• United States
5 Aug 11
So which oath you take depends on the strength and timing of the story idea that hits you? Well being flexible is essential in writing! :)
3 Aug 11
I would like to say I write by the seat of my pants... but I get lost too easily. I only discovered this recently when I actually sat down and tried to put all the scenes in my head into some kind of sensible order that wouldn't be like Pulp Fiction gone wrong. So apparently, I need to be a pre-planner.
3 Aug 11
I lack brain space, I think! Thankfully, I found StorYbook, which keeps everything nice and tidy now.
@Awinds (2472)
• United States
3 Aug 11
@SpikeTheLobster It's painful when you want to be a free spirit author only to discover the chains of the planner still bind you. :)
• Philippines
4 Aug 11
This reminds me of my former professor. He told me I was a 'structured artist'. He never expanded on that comment but I think he means that I'm on the borderline between the plan or the structure and the creative side. Maybe he wants be to jump on their side to get a balance of both things. Planning isn't supposed to be a burdensome process. It should just like a guiding light to keep you focused.
@Bluedoll (17050)
• Canada
18 Oct 11
I like the idea of a plan. It is something to refer to if we get lost. However, the trouble with mine is they become the story. Now the characters I have more problems with. They only exist for me if I actually write about them, if it is in an outline who cares what colour their hair is, wear they live or what job they have if I don't write about that in the story. Can one have brain damage? I never got my one and only novel completed. If I start another I will finish it with or without a pre-plan. This question concerning plot I am not sure if that will ever be solid in my mind. Fine, I've come to the conclusion there is no right or wrong answer to plotting just as there many different styles of writing?
@Awinds (2472)
• United States
19 Oct 11
A plan does indeed have advantages and disadvantages. I agree that a plan is an excellent source to turn to if one gets lost in the middle of the story. However I also agree that a plan can be a picky little creature. I suppose in the end it depends on the individual person. Good luck with your maybe someday in the future novel! :)
@Bluedoll (17050)
• Canada
19 Oct 11
I do hope you understood my meaning because after reading it myself now I sensed it could have a different meaning than I originally intended. I wish I could design an event planner that was so well laid out I could use it in all my writing later. I've started, have a basic plan but got hung up very quickly as I tried to add detail. What will happen is the writing will begin with just this basic plan, end up get changed and modified many times and I will wish I had a perfect outline to fall back on. Yes, picky little creature I like that term. I suppose if I did have one, I would be happier but the inner child would then be pouting because she can not use her crayons outside the lines. Thanks for the good will may you have the same for yours.
@luanakent (795)
• Brazil
4 Aug 11
usually when i write, i have an overview of the story but happens the story take own course. I wonder what that kinf of person would . The characters are vivid in the write'mind and should be consistent. Some times i am distracted or walking and occurs in my mind just a phrase that the character would surely say... so. i have pick up any paper and write the sentence because if i dont write, i always forget.
@Awinds (2472)
• United States
4 Aug 11
You start out with a general idea, but the story takes its own path. :)
• Brazil
5 Aug 11
sometimes..
@celticeagle (120480)
• Boise, Idaho
3 Aug 11
If I am writing a novel I do create a outline. If I am doing a short storie I let it go its own way and if I get tangled and I don't see how to get to the end I have to do an outline to manuever around whatever problem I have come up against. And, even when I plan it out sometimes I change parts. Right now I am working on a love story and I can't figure how I want to end it. It has to be the natural continuation of the story and sometimes that is difficult. It think it helps alot to know your characters. Doing a characterization is very important and really helps move things around. Because I think I get bogged down when i don't know my characters and what they might do in a certain situation. So I find developing strong characterizations helps alot. And when I get it all perfect and the way I want it it is very hard to send it out into the world. Its my baby!
@Awinds (2472)
• United States
3 Aug 11
Imagine a company having a meeting and trying to decide what direction it will take in the future - only none of the meeting attendees know each other. That would a hard environment to operate in! It seems to be the same with a story - if you don't know your people good luck trying to write intimately about them! I hear ya on the perfect thing - I have had editors tear my stories apart - even though I sure felt like it was polished and finished before! :)
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (120480)
• Boise, Idaho
4 Aug 11
Indeed. I think editors see things black and white. They have to. We, as writers, see things more grey and light pastels. lol
@vegegirl (828)
• Australia
4 Aug 11
Well I believe in planning your plot, but I am trying to write a novel and I just have lots of little ideas about things I could put in about the characters and their businesses/lifestyle but still have no idea of what is actually going to happen and how the plot will all go together. I thought it is better to start writing down the ideas I get until the idea of the plot finally comes to me then I could plan that out with the other bits around it.
@Awinds (2472)
• United States
5 Aug 11
It would be a miracle if a plot came to you first thing! Writing down ideas is probably the only way to get the whole picture. :)
@bouncybug (615)
• South Africa
3 Aug 11
For the few times that I have tried to write a short story, I have a brief outline of the plot in my mind. But I like to let the writing go its own way - if I start writing and am suddenly veering off my planned plot a little, I allow this to happen -often its surprising where your own writing can take you once you get going!
@Awinds (2472)
• United States
3 Aug 11
I hear ya! A good plot is one that has twists and surprises the reader - one of the best ways to do that is to surprise yourself! :)