Writing Wednesdays: Should you plot your story?

September 10, 2014
Do you plot your stories, or do you wing it (like me)?

I am not in the habit of plotting my stories. 

I’ve never been able to do it. In school, when we had to write a short story, the teacher would tell us to write a plot (exposition, middle, climax, resolution) and my plot and story would end up being totally different. It’s just not how I work, personally.

But I know some people can’t ‘wing it’ with their writing, and they feel more comfortable plotting out the whole thing with detailed notes. So the question remains: what should you do?

And the answer I’m going to give you is: do whatever works for you.

You might also like this post on how to find your writing style.

Seriously. There is no magic formula to this – I’ve had lots of questions from people asking for advice on how to start their story and what they should do about plotting it. Some of those questions have been along the lines of should they plan their story.

And it doesn’t matter. You can write a book either way. As long as you’ve got a clear idea of what kind of book you want to write (fantasy with mages, sci-fi where people come back to post-apocalyptic Earth, high school romance where girl’s perfect life is turned upside down) you can wing it. Just remember what kind of book you’re trying to write.

And if you find it helpful, you could make a timeline of events – if you have ideas of significant things that will happen in your book, make a note of them somewhere to remind you.

Instead of plotting my novel, I find it helps to write a blurb for my story, to keep me on track. See this post on writing a story description.

And if you want to sit and plan out your novel that’s okay too. Whether it’s just a rough synopsis of the whole book, or whether it’s a very detailed plan of what will happen in your novel. If you’re new to writing, you might find plotting is the easiest thing to do to start out, even if you later find out that you can’t work that way.

My best advice is to find what works for you. 


Try doing it different ways and try doing the same thing but with a different story. If it helps you better yourself as a writer, then it can’t be a bad thing. It might take a while for you to get comfortable, but bear with it, because it will be helpful for you to learn how you work best when writing.


Do you plot your stories? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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