When it comes to writing books, I've always been a bit of a pantser - that means I sit down and write by the seat of my pants, rather than have a detailed plan before I get started. That's not to say I have no idea what's going to happen, usually I have a vague plan and an ending, and go from there.
In a number of writer's groups I'm part of, there is a lot of discussion about NaNoWriMo coming up in November. If you haven't heard of it, the idea is to write 50,000 words, the first draft of a novel, in a month. Most of the people who are planning to take part spend October doing the plan of their novel, including character profiles and maps of the worlds their stories will exist in.
I look at some of this activity and wish I could plot like that, but it's something I've never been able to do. Even in High School when we were set a story to write, I would have to write my first draft, then the dot point plan. I did it this way mostly because when I did them the other way around the story would bare little resemblance to the plan I'd written.
When I sit down to write a new story the first draft I write is quite sketchy on details, however it has strong bones. It usually has a great middle and end, but the middle needs work to make it stonger. Shortly after that first draft, I type it out again from the beginning, adding in scenes that were missing and details that need to be included for the story to make sense. The beginning and end usually remain fairly unchanged.
After doing this a few times, I have come to realise that my first draft IS my plan!
My plan doesn't look like it does in any of the books and resources about planning. I don't have dot points or chapter summaries, but it allows me to find out where the story is going to take me in a way that flows for me.
This is also showing me that there is no one way to write a book. Different methods work for different people, and plans look different for different people.
How do you plan your books, if you plan?
You can follow her writing journey at www.melissawrites.com.au and www.melissagijsbers.com