There are many writers that say that you don’t need to plan before you write a novel. They say that the novel will just grow as they write. They say that planning stifles their creativity. Most people who don’t plan their novel never finish it. Planning your novel provides a sense of security and allows your creativity to bloom in ways you never dreamed of. Here are the five main reasons you should plan before you write your novel.
1. Planning your novel helps you avoid writer’s block. Even if you start out with the most brilliant idea for your novel, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details once you start to write. Sometimes there may seem to be too many choices and sometimes there may not be enough. If you’ve planned ahead, you can refer to your plan to see what should happen next. No more writer’s block!
2. Planning can help you write a novel quickly. You want to finish your rough draft as quickly as possible. It’s important to get it finished so you can get that feeling of satisfaction of completing a long project. The sooner it’s finished, the sooner you can revise it and publish it and start your next project.
3. Planning before you write a novel can help avoid extensive rewrites. When you are writing without a plan, you may begin to write in a certain direction. Then you realize that’s not where you want the novel to go or you reach a dead end. Then you have to backtrack and write those scenes again or replace them with new ones. When you have a plan, your rewriting phase is more about fine-tuning.
4. When you plan before you write, you end up with a better novel. You’ll be able to weave in subtle connections between the characters because you can see how all the big pieces fit together. You’ll be able to weave the subplots together more seamlessly. There won’t be characters who have no place or subplots that leave the reader hanging because they were never resolved.
5. Planning before you write keeps you from getting discouraged and giving up. A huge number of people begin to a novel and never finish it. When your novel starts to get complicated and you’re feeling discouraged, you can look at your plan. Suddenly you realize that the ending is already in sight. You know that you have a great novel because you have a great plan. All it’s going to take is a little time and effort.
Having a plan doesn’t mean that things can’t change once you begin to write. In fact, things will change once you begin to write. As your characters have conversations and interact with each other on the page, you may discover a new way for their relationship to develop or a better way to solve the character’s problem. That’s the nature of the creative process. Planning only provides a framework on which to build and that framework will help you write an amazing novel.