02 03 Melody Jackson, Author: Helpful Advice to Plan and Write A Novel: Part 1 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Helpful Advice to Plan and Write A Novel: Part 1

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Too often it seems writers go to extremes in their thinking. You're an outliner or a pantser(someone who just writes without planning first), a strict rule-follower or a rebel. You either think adverbs are bad, or you can't get enough of them.

But only physical writing is that black and white. The process and story between is more colorful and beautifully messy than any rainbow ever.

So why can't writers be somewhere in between these extremes?

Me, I both outline AND pants my novel. I follow rules but I'm not afraid to break them if it's needed. I like adverbs, but I understand they can be overused.

Now, this works for me, but it may not for you. Writing is a very individual journey, and I encourage you to try new things and use what works best for you.

For my first novel, "The Dragon Within", I didn't have much of a clue of what I was doing, so I pantsed the first draft. It was...a mess. I had to scrap the whole thing. My characters weren't fleshed out and neither was my plot, or anything about the book!

What I found out was that if I don't have an idea of what I'm doing, I go everywhere and it's a mess. But I dislike being held back by the strict regime of an outline(or, my characters did).

So, I found the best plan for me is HAVE a plan, but be equipped to deviate from it if the story requires. I start off going in a specific direction so I don't wander everywhere, and oftentimes end up changing things, but it's good and it works out. At least I know where I'm going, so the story stays (mainly) on track.

Also, keep in mind that first drafts will always be the worst. Don't get discouraged; writers truly are better at rewriting than the actual writing itself.

I encourage you to try my methods; see if they work for you. If not, that's totally fine, but maybe this will be exactly what you needed. Who knows?

There's a bit too much to be said in just one post, so I will continue this tomorrow with advice on planning, handling, and going deeper into the heart of any story: its characters. Until then, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this post, and what your planning/writing process looks like. Comment below and let me know!

-Melody

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