Since my last post, I’ve been busily planning out my next book. It’s been a new experience for me as I’ve always been a pantser writing, making it up as I went along. In fact, I’d become so used to that way of writing, that I believed sitting down and planning a story just didn’t work for me.

But things change, and here I am, plotting like a machine! Currently the document with all my notes in is ten pages and still growing. No middle ground for me.

You might be thinking that at that length, it’s no longer just notes but an essay. Heck, it could be an entire first chapter of the new book. But let me explain what it involves.

Rather than just being a mishmash of random ideas, I’ve used the seven part plot structure I discovered last month as a framework for my notes (opening loop, first pinch, midpoint, etc.). On top of that I’ve added sections for character breakdowns, observations on the story’s setting (history, geography, etc.) and any dialogue and narrative ideas. In other words, there’s a place for everything. Organization is proving to be key here.

I’ve also introduced a few other quirks. As I haven’t currently come up with names for my characters, I’m instead using generic identifying names surrounded by angled brackets. For instance, or . Because, why not?

And if I’ve come up with more than one idea for a particular plot point I’ll bracket it off like so, [Idea 1 // Idea 2 // Idea 3]. Nothing special, but it helps me pick out those sections that I still need to think about and make decisions on.

The only thing I’m struggling with is the lack of a formal timetable when it comes to planning. I’m used to doing X words or Y pages per day. A clear daily target that once done, frees me up to do other things . Sure, I can sit down and brainstorm for an hour, but most ideas come when I’m driving, at work or in the shower. In other words, I’m always “on”.

I’m looking forward to seeing what effect all this planning has when I actually start writing the book in the new year.