how to plan a novel


Any last minute Camp NaNoWriMo planners out there? Remember that I have a 1-hour video workshop on how to plan a novel~ 😉📚⚙️

5 Common Story Problems with Simple Fixes

Our stories are often plagued with these common story problems, but if we don’t know how to fix them, we’ll never improve our writing. It’s important that you remember you don’t need to scrap your novel if you keep having the same issues over and over again. Hopefully this list will help you pinpoint what’s going on and provide ways for you to improve your novel.

Problem: Unmotivated Characters

If you’re having trouble figuring out where your story should go next, the problem could be with unmotivated characters. Characters aren’t in your novel just so you can push them around every once in a while and make them do things. They need to develop over time and keep your story going in the right direction.


Work on your character’s wants, goals, and motivations. You need to figure out what’s driving your character if you want them to do anything. Where do they want to end up? What’s standing in their way? What’s their plan? Who will help them? Think about everything your character will need to do to resolve your novel. Focus on what they want and what motivates their actions and your characters will stop being dull and lifeless.

Problem: Boring First Chapters

A boring first chapter is dangerous because you want to captivate your audience right away. You don’t want to lose readers just because of this, but sometimes it happens.  You should give enough information to keep your readers interested, while also keeping them intrigued enough to figure out what happens next.


Putting emotion into your scenes from the beginning will not only help set the tone, but we’ll get an immediate understanding of your world. The best advice I can give is to construct a scene that helps us best understand your character. If they’re on the run, show us that they’re being chased. If they’re sad and lonely, construct a scene that lets us feel their isolation. You don’t necessarily need to open your book with action, but you do need to introduce the conflict. Think about what your character wants and go from there. Think of your first chapter as an introduction to an essay. You don’t go right into the points immediately, but you set us up for something good.

Problem: Plot Holes

Writers worry about forgetting to include important information in their novel that’s necessary to the plot. If you’re discovering that readers often point out plot holes in your story, maybe it’s time to reevaluate how you plan your novel.


Pre-planning or prewriting your novel often solves any plot hole problems. If you take the time to write out important scenes so you don’t forget them, your story will become stronger. However, if you’re not someone who likes to do so much planning, you can tackle plot holes during the editing phase. Take notes when you’re editing so that you can catch these plot holes and figure out where you can add necessary information. A plot hole does not always mean your novel needs loads of reworking, but it is something you need to take the time to fill in.

Problem: Poor Pacing

Poor pacing can ruin a novel, but luckily it’s something you can tackle head on before you even start writing your story. Good pacing helps add tension to your novel and helps you make sure there’s enough rising and falling action to keep your story interesting.


Planning out your novel ahead of time also helps solve pacing problems. You can create a timeline that helps you keep track and plan out when you want certain things to happen. Read up on story arcs and try to plan out your scenes accordingly. If you’re already done with your novel and you notice poor pacing, try rearranging scenes or spreading out the action.

Problem: Info-Dumping

A very common writing problem is info-dumping. This is when you tell your readers loads of information at a time without showing them anything important. Info-dumps usually occur in first chapters of novels, but they can happen anytime during the course of your story. Info- dumps can drag down your story and bore your readers.


Cut out long paragraphs where you explain what’s going on in your novel and show your readers instead. Avoid over explaining things that can be explained through action. Letting your audience figure things out instead is a much more satisfying reading experience and it lets your readers connect with your characters on a deeper level.

-Kris Noel

Planning out a Novel

Anonymous asked: “How do you plan a novel? What are the next steps after developing the main characters?”

First, I want to say that there is no right or wrong way to go about this. Some people use charts and drawings or really long lists, summaries for each chapter, or just have a general concept of what the ending looks like. 

The most important thing to figure out, if you plan nothing else, is to know what the central conflict that will be addressed at the end of the novel will be. You don’t need to know what happens, what the fall out is, or anything like that, just what is the conflict the protagonist faces? This is usually a very difficult question to answer if you don’t have a solid premise yet or are in the early stages of planning. 

Keep reading

lover-fighter-writer-nerd  asked:

The more i write, the more i realizehow much i love world building and character development. My problem is i cant come up with a good plot to save my life. Any advice?! Please help!

Plot is where I also fall down. I’m not even so much about the world building, I just love characters and how people interact, so I have to actively force myself to write plot.

The way I do it is to break it up into really, really simple things. I think I’ve posted how I structure my novel plans, but this is basically it:

(Sorry for all the blanks, but there’s no way in hell I am letting key plot elements out)

Now, if you’re thinking, but Joy, that’s just a scrap of paper with single descriptor lines numbered together, yes, you’d be correct. I cannot map out plot in any other way, I’ve tried, but this is how my brain apparently works. 

All I know is I need to get from A to Z and I know there are scenes I want to include, so I write the scenes, then fit out where in the alphabet of my novel they fit. I number them, and then I fill in the blanks and connect everything together so that the start, the middle, the catalyst and the resolution all meet up, and then once I have this vague road map of where I’m going, I try and stick to it as much as possible while I write the thing into a whole. Sometimes the plan changes, and that’s okay, but mostly it gives me a sense of direction with where I am going towards something.

I like having my Point of Conflict mapped out clearly, so that I know where I am heading. And I’ll be honest, my plot is not unique. There is a start, a source of conflict, some comedic and romantic relief in between with oodles of world and character development until there is A Not Good Thing Which Causes More Conflict, and then there is The Resolution followed by more Character Stuff.

And that’s it. That is how I write and god help you if you can figure it out because some days I barely can. I guess the point I am making is, your plot doesn’t need to be complex. What’s the theme of your story, how does it start? Write that down as a one liner. What happens next? Write that down.

To give you an idea of how that would look, for most coming of age fantasy novels, it would look like this:

>Be at home on farm. Lament life on farm.
>Visit Market with Friends.
>Get into hijinks which establish Character Dynamics.
>Hear a rumor at market about war, be certain it will never come to you.
>Wake up in middle of night to find farm on fire, the war is here and it has most definitely found you.
>Parents die, run off with pseud-parental figure who seems to know a lot about you.
>Realize adventuring is fucking awful.
>Discover you were adopted and feel confused/betrayed??? 
>Get in fight with dark ancient evil that tells you Things.
>Lose hand as a metaphor for lost innocence.
>Several thousand words later:

And that is…that’s pretty much every popular fantasy story since Tolkein. But it’s the worlds and characters that keep us coming back for more. So your plot? Your plot doesn’t need to be original, there is at this stage, no new ideas. Only interesting and well executed ones, and that’s what you want to aim for. 

So don’t stress over things just yet. Get yourself a vague map, and then see where it takes you. Not everyone knows where they are going when they start out writing. 

40 Character Development Questions

Since I led off with a Character Development Checklist, I thought it might be nice to round it out with a Question Sheet, as well.

Also, can someone explain to me how the fuck I misspelled “Development” on that post title and didn’t notice? Don’t pull from drafts and edit at 4:00 am, kids.

Although, if that’s the worst mistake I made yesterday then I think I’m doing pretty good. 


  1. How/why was your character named? 
  2. If they have a nickname, how did it originate?
  3. How many languages can they speak? (and why)
  4. What is the extent of their education?
  5. Where do they live?
  6. How close are they to their family?
  7. Do they have pets? 
  8. Are all the characters name easy to understand, pronounce, and are mostly different from all the other names throughout the story?
  9. Is the cast of characters diverse and interesting?
  10. Do you have an acceptable mix of men/women and of different ethnicity in ratio of how large your cast is? If not, why not?


  1. What does your character look like?
  2. If they have scars/tattoos, what is the origin?
  3. What is their most physically distinguishing characteristic?
  4. How similar do they look compared to their family members?
  5. Are all the characters different physically?


  1. What is their motive? 
  2. What is something about them that can surprise me (the writer)?
  3. On what occasion does this character lie?
  4. What is their greatest regret?
  5. What is their greatest fear?
  6. What is their worst vice?
  7. What is a talent they would like to have?
  8. Did they have a happy childhood? (why/why not?)
  9. What was the best thing that ever happened to them?
  10. What is their worst tic/habit?
  11. Who is the person they love the most?
  12. Who is the person who they hate the most?
  13. What is the state of their house? Clean? Messy? Run down? Perfect and stately?
  14. Are they superstitious? Why/why not? 
  15. How easy are they to get along with?


  1. How is this character different than all the other characters? 
  2. What would happen if your character had more information about the plot you’ve created?
  3. What would happen if your character had less information about the plot you’ve created?
  4. What has brought this character to this point in time?
  5. What is motivating your character in the plot so far? And do you expect this to change?
  6. How happy is your character with the way things are going?
  7. How has your character changed throughout the novel? Or, how do you plan on it changing?
  8. How are the goals changing for your character?
  9. Why is the story happening to this character and not someone else? 
  10. How can I make my character more likeable/unlikable, depending on the reaction I want?

Getting ready for NaNoWriMo but not sure how to outline? Check out my video guide! 📚💚

“DON’T INFO DUMP,” said every writing-advice-giver ever. 

And that advice is so annoying, isn’t it? You’re going along, writing your first draft…or maybe you’re revising your old draft…whatever stage your in, if you’re trying to build a world in a well-paced, interesting story, then it can be difficult to find places for brief bouts of exposition and backstory. 

It would be so much simpler to just have a paragraph or seven where you spout out all of the relative information in one go so you can get to the meat of the scene. Or maybe you could find a way to use your powerful brain waves to transfer all that information to your reader. Or…can information be absorbed intravenously? 

Stop worrying! There are more options for your in-narrative worldbuilding than info dumping or even exposition-sprinkling.

Did you know that there’s huge chunks of worldbuilding that can simultaneously be character development? 

Originally posted by usedpimpa

Yeah. I know. In the process of character development, you can give the reader any and all information they might need about your world. 

Example time!

So, what do we see here? There’s nothing inherently wrong with this set up, and it might be fun (and necessary) to write this as your first draft. But what are the potential problems?

  • A prologue exists - Now, I personally really like prologues, but you know who doesn’t? Agents. Publishers. And lots of readers. It’s often safer to just jump into the action of chapter one.  The purpose of this prologue, at a glance, is likely:
    • to introduce the world, or a specific aspect of the culture
    • to introduce backstory of an important, but not primary character 
    • to introduce the backstory of the situation that our MC will find herself in.
  • The prologue isn’t narrated or focused on our POV character, Donna. One of the biggest complaints about prologues is that they so frequently don’t introduce the main character or the main conflict (and why should they? They’re prologues). But many readers feel cheated by starting with one narrator and then getting a new one once the main story starts. 

So, instead of letting these issues remain, we have an alternative. Cut the prologue. It’s fun backstory, but it’s not needed in-narrative. It’s good that you, the author, now have it as a reference, though, so don’t feel like you’ve wasted time. Open with Chapter One and our main narrator. 

“But…but…how will the reader understand Bill and where she’s coming from!? It’s so important for understanding the state of the world!!! ARGHHH.”

Don’t worry. All of this will be revealed in due course.

Okay, so here we have a tiny snippet of dialogue. This doesn’t encompass everything, but it’s a start. We’ve skipped Bill’s backstory, right? So what does that give us? Well, simple. If Donna’s our POV character, then it lets us readers get to know Bill through her eyes. This can go on. As Donna watches Bill interact with others, watches her lead, watches her flinch and close-off and open up…all of these actions will reveal her backstory.

What other benefits does this method of world and character introduction offer?

  • More organic feel of dropped details.
  • Information is given through dialogue and so we get to hear that information, but we’re simultaneously getting character voice
  • It’s easy to “show” how Bill feels about her past because we aren’t in her head, so there’s no chance for telling. Donna–and the readers–will only get the information that Bill gives plus all of her physical and tonal cues. 
  • The omittance of details can speak as much or more about Bill as the details she gives. And since this story is being filtered to us through Donna, those details might be questioned or pondered. She talked all about ___, but I’ve heard so many people talking about ____, and she didn’t bring that up at all…I wonder why.

Here’s another example, only focused on the narrator this time. A picture of the world, and a whole lot about the character. 

You could easily do one or the other–character or world, plot or world, backstory or plot–but when you take the chance to combine them, then you save on unneeded exposition, word count, and it helps keep things saturated and interesting. 

It comes down to this: In many ways, our world is what we perceive it as, especially in the story we tell. So objective worldbuilding within a character and story-driven novel doesn’t quit grip the interest of the reader to the same extent. Worldbuilding becomes especially interesting when it’s revealed in relation to story and character. A lot of your note-taking worldbuilding (the stuff in the background) will be objective, matter-of-fact. But within the story, what matters most is what relates to the people and the matter at hand. Compiling your world building onto your character development is easy, because what a character reveals about their own world also reveals a lot about them.

A post from me wouldn’t be complete without some prompts/brainstorming ideas for this subject, so here you go.

Things to consider when worldbuilding in-narrative through your characters:

  • How they interact with the environment
  • How “normal” any given situation or place seems to them
  • How people around them are treating them and their reaction to it
  • How they and others are dressed, their thoughts on “fashion”
  • How their home-life is seen by others, how others’ home-lives are viewed by character
  • How character handles money or trade
  • How well-educated your character is and how that is viewed by others
  • How your character views the education of other people.
  • How your character deals with the political climate
  • The kind of foods that they like, the kinds they eat regularly
  • How strangers talk to them on the street
  • The kinds of people they’re friends with
  • How they view, treat, and are treated by other social classes
  • The environment of their workplace, how others treat them on a professional level

Happy writing!


I mentioned I had more art and information about the Thunderbirds OC I’ve been working on, so here we go. Under a cut because this is going to get kinda long. XD (Also bear in mind some info may be subject to change.)

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Is it possible to have a planet without a certain kind of environment? Like a world without tundra or deserts?

In a word: Absolutely!

In many, many more words (and a picture):

You have several options here. The first and most obvious one is simply this: Do whatever the hell you want. If you want your world to have never seen snow, then go for it! No rainforests? Be my guest!

But since you’re asking about possibilities, I’m assuming you want something more scientific than that. And I’m always happy to oblige. 

Let’s establish something that is important to keep in mind when discussing fictional non-Earth worlds:

We know how Earth works and how it supports life. We know how other real single-biome planets work that do not support life. But we can’t know everything about things we haven’t discovered. Since our life is the only kind we know, it might be possible that somewhere out there, a planet that we cannot imagine living on actually does manage to support life. Extra-terrestrial life could potentially work in a variety of different ways, as could ecosystems and atmospheres and all other planetary components. 

This can be less flexible if you’re talking about sticking humans onto other worlds. We know that humans need certain things to live (water, oxygen, etc.), so if you’re taking humans as we know them, then you’ll need to write a world that is prepared to support them. 

So…how would you write a biome out of a world in order to support life as we know it?

There are several ways you can do this, as long as you remember that the key to any ecosystem is balance. Part of the problem with single-biome worlds supporting life is that they don’t offer any type of balance. Not enough plant life means not enough oxygen, too much flora with too little fauna might mean too much oxygen. So if you nix a specific biome (let’s say we kill off the hottest biomes, deserts and rainforests), then you need to make sure you give a sufficient placeholder. (i.e. If you erase a rainforest and replace it with nothing but dirt, then you have eliminated a potentially vital source of oxygen from the planet, thus upsetting the balance.)

Wait, so how do you kill off the equator-biomes of Earth?

Let’s imagine a planet:

The axis doesn’t tilt. This does several things, but it would most prominently:
  - eliminate seasons
  - isolate climates/environments/biomes

Here, you’ve got a planet that’s probably much farther from it’s sun than Earth is from Sol. Or it is orbiting a much cooler star. Either way, you’ve got to deal with the fact that the sun will always be hitting each part of the planet with the exact same intensity. You can place it closer, if you want, and have an uninhabitable equator and people only living on the poles, where the sun doesn’t shine so intensely (but you NEVER have nights!). 

And there, you’ve given yourself an environment that could possibly kiss hot climates good-bye. This offers a chance for global balance (though individual cities and countries might not feel that balance). You can place water anywhere you like, just remember that it’s basically required. 

How you decide to balance the eco-system of your world is up to you, but just based on the basic elements of how Earth’s biomes are created, how seasons and climates affect one another and change over time, you can do a lot to manipulate the characteristics of a new world.

And also notice that in this physical planet/climate/biome manipulation, we’ve created some really interesting culture possibilities just by default. 

Gosh darn it, but worldbuilding is fun.
How To Make A Plan To Write A Visual Novel In A Month So You Can Finish It In Three And A Half… — Mammon Machine: ZEAL
Postmortem: 100 Days On We Know The Devil
By Aevee Bee

Aevee Bee’s post-mortem of We Know The Devil is basically required reading for anyone looking to write a visual novel or text adventure (or any videogame really.) Choice quote:

After we bounced concept art and character profiles we would both have such a grasp of the characters we could both write scenes featuring them; Mia would message me at like 12AM with “this vine is totally Venus” and I’d be like, yes, and also the person who smashed the glass against her face is Neptune. We literally developed this game by shitposting with our own characters, so please value that work; it’s how we came up from everything from the underage drinking to the truth or dare and seven minutes in heaven scenes.

Foundation of Plot

This is a breakdown of how to structure any plot you create so that you can tell your story in the best way possible. The first thing to remember is that every story has a beginning, middle and end.

- Beginning - provides interest and orientation.
(Without a good beginning, the reader may be confused or won’t want to read on).

- Middle - keep the reader interested and turning pages through conflict.
(Without a middle, the reader won’t want to read your work).

- Ending - provides answers to any outstanding story questions
(Without an ending, the reader won’t understand or know why the story was written).

The best way to structure your story is to use the 8 Point Story Arc. Points 1-3 are the Beginning, points 4 and 5 are the Middle, and points 6-8 are the Ending.

The 8 Points:

- Beginning:

1. Routine (Introduces your main character and shows their everyday life).

  1.5 Trigger (Optional step. Sparks the Inciting Incident).

2. Inciting Incident (A single, external, easily identifiable event that upsets the balance in your main character’s life).

3. Story Goal (Your main character sets a goal (stated or unstated) that they believe, when achieved, will restore balance created by the Inciting Incident).

- Middle:

4. Complications (Makes life harder for your main character).

5. Responses (Your main character’s reaction to complication).

(Note: the Middle should go Complication, Response, Complication, Response, etc, until you reach the Climax).

- Ending:

6. Climax (Highest point of tension/turning point).

7. Impact (Effect of climax).

8. Conclusion (Resolve all outstanding questions).

By using the 8 Point Story Arc you should have a fully structured plot from beginning to end. This isn’t the only way to structure a plot, but it does have all the steps you need to finish your story.

Happy writing!

31 Days of Planning
  1. How are you planning on planning your novel? How are you going to outline it? Are you going to split your novel into chapters? Will there be parts?

  2. Outlining 101-

  3. Research writing/ planning articles and how tos such as tumblr blogs and nanowrimo links

  4. Write down 10 things you specifically want to be in your novel.

  5. What styles are you going to write your novel in? What POV? Is the narrator to the point, rambly, or satiristic?

  6. Read a book based off of the same themes/ similar writing style you want your book to be.

  7. Write a brief synopsis (a paragraph) of your novel idea.

  8. Write 3 fake reviews that would appear on the back of your book. Judging from those, what kind of impact do you want to have on the readers?

  9. Describe themes of your novel. (Religion, war, love, etc)

  10. Describe your characters as if they were a color.

  11. Separate your novel plan into chapters or parts. Give each section a title. Even if your plan is not yet complete, conjure up a vague idea of how your novel will go in your mind. Break up the plan into sections and title away.

  12. Plan a scene revolving around your character finding out something they weren’t supposed to know. (It doesn’t have to be part of your novel! Consider it character building.)

  13. How does your character relieve frustration, anger, and/or hurt?

  14. What are the animals in your novel’s world like? If your novel takes place on modern earth, what type of animals can be found in your novel’s setting?

  15. Have another character describe your main character, after your main character has died. Who, if anyone, the other character is describing the MC to is up to you.

  16. Write one characteristic each for your top 5 characters of the novel.

  17. What are your character’s sexualities? How is sexuality viewed in your world? Are gays a minority?

  18. What are your character’s races? How is race viewed in your world? Are there minority races?

  19. What is your world’s legal system like? Is it lenient? Harsh? What are some examples of punishments for possible crimes?

  20. Has your character ever done drugs? If so, which ones? Why? With who, if anyone? Does your world even have drugs? If so, does it have a drug problem? How are drugs viewed in your character’s world?

  21. Your character does something they would not usually do. What is it? Why did they do it?

  22. Describe your characters as if they were a part of nature.

  23. You’ve outlined your novel. Now do it again, using a different method.

  24. Have an hour long planning sesh with chicken in a raft playing in the background.

  25. Describe your main character eloquently and pompously.

  26. What would your characters last words be? Profound? Silly? Personal? Sad?

  27. Describe how your character would react if they found themselves homeless for a week. What would they do?

  28. Create writing playlists for NaNoWriMo and Tramo. Base a playlist over a character, and what kind of music taste your charrie would listen to. Try to connect different moods and themes into your playlists. Share music suggestions with your fellow tramoers!

  29. Describe your main character’s worst environment possible. (i.e., if they get claustrophobic, a small room full of a crowd of people) Find a way to incorporate this into your novel.

  30. Find quotes to use as your characters’ mottos.

  31. Review all of the planning you’ve done this month. Do you feel ready? Is there anything you need to change or add before you start writing?


Hello, writerly friends~ ♥︎

It’s finally here! I’ve finally gotten around turning my old planning guide into a video series– and just in time for NaNoWriMo!

Over the course of a couple of years of running this blog I’ve gotten tons of writing questions, and without a doubt the #1 question I’ve gotten is: “Max, how do *you* plan a novel?” Well, click on the video above to find out how I go about brainstorming, fleshing out, and plotting a book! :D

This planning guide is broken into two parts. The video above should be annotated to take you to the second part, otherwise feel free to click on this link!

► Want more writing advice videos? Subscribe to me on Youtube!

And, of course, if you want your daily dose of writerly advice, positivity, and prompts, then make sure follow my blog:! ★

anonymous asked:

Hi Ranpo! How long do you plan on staying inside Poe's novel with Chuuya?

It’s only been 5 days and Chuuya’s already broken 21 of the 35 vases, 3 of the 9 tables, and countless forks. I don’t want to stay any longer in this living hell. 

but I guess I have to in order to keep Chuuya out of the battle

wouldn’t want my president to die now would i

anonymous asked:

Hola, dear! Just found your blog and wanted to ask, how do writers exactly plan their novel? I've been meaning to start writing, but my mind is so cluttered and I don't know where to start. I would love the help! Thank you x

I’m glad you asked! Actually, within the next three days, I’ll be posting a twenty page booklet on how to outline basic fiction. So, you have that to be excited about!

However, if you need to get started right now, this is usually how I start. 

I write what I call a flat plot. It’s literally one sentence that contain a subject, and a conflict. It establishes the most basic pieces of your story, giving you a ground zero to work from. Let me show you some examples. 

“A teenage girl falls in love with both a vampire and a werewolf” (Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight)

“While living in poverty, a young woman is drafted into a game where she must fight to the death with eleven other children” (Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games)

Think of it as those little blurbs you get on DirecTV when you hover over a show. It gives you just enough to start building. 

If you already have something like this established, I highly suggest that you create the first layer of your characters. I’m a firm believer that you can’t properly start to plot a story unless you know a bit about who you’re writing about. But, since most authors actually don’t enjoy this method, I’ll let you in on my first step in plotting. 

I call it the story structure, sometimes the story skeleton. It looks like this!

1. Inciting Incident (what the heck starts the story?)

2. Call to Adventure (what the heck happens that gets your character into their mess?)

3. Big Decision (when the heck do they decide that they do, in fact, want to be in the mess?)

4. The New World (Set up how the heck your character’s life is going to be different)

5. Explore The World (bulk of the story, lead up to the climax, prepare for a beautiful disaster)

6. Climax (everything is crazy, people’s heads are turning)

7. Everything Sort of Sucks (How has the event in the climax caused the character’s lives to start to blow? This is where the conflict starts kicking their butts)

8. The Lowest Low (this is where the protagonist thinks they’ve lost. Break them down to their most basic human feelings. Make them vulnerable and put them through Hell!)

9. A False Victory (give the reader a bit of hope as well as the protagonist, and then take it away. However, don’t forget that this is what’s gonna light that fire under the protagonist’s booty that it’ll take to win in the end)

10. Regroup (establish how this false victory has caused the protagonist to change their view on the conflict)

11. Into Battle (time to fight the conflict head on!)

12. Return to Normal (Bring the reader down from all the action and the victory. Show them the results)

13. Address the Theme (don’t let them forget the purpose of your story)

14. The End!

I hope I could help. Feel free to shoot me another message if you need anything!

-Olivia Paige


replied to your



But you have 2 days off a week for art.

Yeah, I so very much hear this. I feel lucky if I can string 3-4 hours together in a row to work on art. Usually it’s less. (on the very very rarest of occasions it might be more.)

Right?  On the bright side, if people see your art and don’t realize how long it takes, you’re making it look easy.  My teachers tell me that’s the goal.  But on the downside, if you make it look easy, no one respects how long this shit takes to do.

Kishi's Secret Plan
  • Kishi: Soo... I get hella uncomfortable doing romance, and everyone's begging for it so why don't you guys handle it when you write the hidens?
  • Assorted Hiden Authors: yeah okay. So we can go crazy?
  • Kishi: sure. No sex scenes tho.
  • Assorted Hiden Authors: obviously. Psshht.
  • *Kishi leaves*
  • Sakura Hiden Author: dammit.
  • -a few weeks later-
  • Kishi: So guys... How's the novel planning going?
  • Kakashi Hiden: I decided not to put too much romance in mine.
  • Kishi: cool I like that.
  • Shikamaru Hiden: So... I totally wrote about shikatema... That's okay right?
  • Kishi: well, yeah. I ship them. Obviously.
  • Akatsuki Hiden: lol no idea.
  • Kishi: Kk chill. You got time.
  • Kishi: okay! Okay!
  • Konoha Hiden: Also... *whispers* Kiba'slovestory *cough*
  • Kishi: say something?
  • Konoha Hiden: who me? Nah.
  • Gaara Hiden: so I decided to call mine a 'story of love' and Gaara's totally gonna get with a chick. I'm thinking Tenten or something XD
  • Kishi: ...what.... Who?
  • Gaara Hiden: yeah and Gaara's going to get a totally hilarious hairstyle, too!
  • Kishi: er, we'll... talk later. What about you, Sakura Hiden?
  • -everybody leaves except Sakura Hiden Author-
  • Sakura Hiden: Well... I want to- it would be... An honour, to write the Sasusaku love story.
  • Kishi: you... Want to write the Sasusaku love story?
  • Sakura Hiden: yeah... Is that okay...?
  • Kishi: ...s-sure. Go ahead.
  • Kishi: er... Sure.
  • -Sakura Hiden author leaves-
  • Kishi: So... She's going to write the Sasusaku love story, huh? Well... I suppose it makes sense. Everyone has been asking. I haven't really thought about it but I've always had this one scenario in my head... But she probably won't write it that way, haha... So... The story of how they got together will forever be different from how I imagined it? Um....
  • ------
  • -Sakura Hiden Author is walking down the street from Kishi's office-
  • Sakura Hiden: ooh I can't wait to write about how they finally get together!
  • Kishi: *calling from a distance as he runs towards her* WAIT!! WAITTT!!
  • Sakura Hiden: eh? It's... Masashi San?
  • Kishi: ha...ha...ha.... (Out of breathe) you...cannot... Write... The Sasusaku... Love story.... Hah.
  • Sakura Hiden: b-but-
  • Kishi: shhh! I have a plan! Sasuke will get his waifu!! But it will happen MY WAY.
  • Sakura Hiden: but, Masashi San... You will have to draw THOSE TYPE of scenes!
  • Kishi: IDC!! YOLO BABY!! Like my homegirl Hinata said, 'SAYONARA!'
  • -runs away-
  • ------------------
  • A/N
  • And that, everybody, is how I think it went down XD
  • Not really.

anonymous asked:

how to plan/outline a novel? how much should i work? i really want to write but dont know how to figure it out

This is one of those questions to which there is no magic answer. I know that’s frustrating to hear, but it’s also the truth. There are a thousand different ways to outline, and different methods work for different writers. But what works best for me is some combination of note cards, what I call the ‘question’ method, and the Rule of Six. Let me explain what I mean by that. 

Note cards: This is the simple part. When I have an idea for a story I write ‘scene cards’ for each scene which I know needs to be part of the plot. I do this electronically with Final Draft, but you can also do it by hand or with Scrivener (personally I find Scrivener over-engineered in some ways and under-engineered in others, but to each his own) or Celtx, which is basically the free version of Final Draft. The upside of doing it this way? You can move things around until you get them into what feels like the right order (I like to color-code by chapter), and you can even leave blank cards as placeholders for scenes or whole sections you haven’t quite figured out yet. Below is a screenshot from something I’m working on plotting right now. As you can see, even my complete note cards are pretty short. Who does what? That’s all I need. Detailed notes, dialogue, etc. are somewhere else. This is the bare bones of the story. I’m not worried about language yet.

The question method: I find that the easiest way to flesh out a story with a lot of gaps is to start asking questions–the kinds of questions readers are going to want answered, or the ones that simply need to be answered for the story to make narrative sense. Some will be logistical, some will be character-related, some will be research items, but one will inevitably lead to another. How does Anton get to the harbor? He drives. In whose car? His. Okay, what kind of car is it? Where did he get it? If he left Deva at ten o’clock in the morning, why is he so late getting back? Etc. etc. I end up filling in a lot of plot holes this way, and learning more about my characters at the very same time. I started asking questions about Anton’s car and two hours later I’d excavated half his childhood and his entire adult relationship with his sister. You’d be surprised how well this works. But it’s also okay if you can’t answer every question right away. Just having those questions in your mind is a great place to start. The answers will come. 

The Rule of Six: The Rule of Six says that for each apparent phenomenon, you should devise at least six plausible explanations. It’s not actually a writing theory, but about three years ago I decided to start using it as one, and you wouldn’t believe how well it works. Having trouble answering one of those major plot questions you just came up with? Force yourself to come up with six completely different explanations for how or why something happens, or for what happens next when you just don’t know where to go. Chances are sooner or later you’ll strike gold, because it forces you to think outside the obvious. The Rule of Six solved a major plot problem in the second half of my forthcoming novel, and it was such a revelation that I literally jumped out of the shower with shampoo still in my hair to write it down (and call my editor).

This is one combination of three different ways to outline. It’s just what happens to work for me, and this process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the story. Learning to outline involves a lot of trial and error, so I’d encourage you to experiment with all kinds of methods, not just what’s on this list. Take your time. You don’t have a deadline, and waiting to start until you have a thorough outline to work with makes writing much easier, and much better.

Let me know if you have other questions!