I am a huge advocate for planning, but I do acknowledge that spontaneity is important as well. In my perspective, planning is about having some kind of structure in mind to allow you to go forward with some sort of direction. I will be the first to admit that plans don’t always work out, change, and need to be adapted. But without a plan I’ve found that I don’t make as much progress as with one.
The thing about writing and planning a story, is that there is no one way to do it. Just like life, there are a thousand ways you can go through life, there’s a thousand ways you can write a story. There will be some who say you don’t need a plan at all, like hippies, they’ll say everything you need will come to you. But I would argue that that’s just a loose type of plan.
Everyone is different and we all have different processes, but we all need to have a goal and make progress towards it. If hippie planning works for you, then great, but keep in mind that the more time you put in towards something, the more likely you are to accomplish it. If you want to plot every paragraph in your novel, or every minute of your day, then good luck and try not to be disappointed when a wrench falls in your plans.
Planning isn’t about knowing what will happen before it really does, it’s about helping you move forward effectively. Since we’re all different, we can all have different ways of planning. Whatever outline we come up with should be one that makes us excited to move forward, especially in writing. Being creative in planning is just as important as in the actual writing.
A beat sheet, or a to-do list is a type of plan I use a lot. Making a list of events that need to happen and then hitting each one as the previous is finished.
Vision boards are helpful when you want to create motivation for a type of feeling or idea.
Detailed outlines are great for figuring out how the timeline will play out, as well as preparing for the execution.
Beginning with the end in mind by simply knowing where you want to end up can be useful in allowing creativity to dominate the process, but still having a clear goal.
Depth planning is when you want to accomplish more than one thing at a time. Like when incorporating themes into a story and you are intentionally utilizing specific devices and clues in events to foreshadow.
These are ways that I’ve planned, but there are certainly plenty more ways. Feel free to be yourself in your planning and use your creativity. Share ways that you’ve planned or would like to plan.