Okay, so you have an idea for a story and you kinda feel excited about getting started.
Start, I mean.
You can get excited. Getting excited is fine. (keep it clean, people!)
But don’t start writing, until you done yourself some planning.
There are some writers who just need an idea and away they go and it works for them and if that works for you, too, then fine, you don’t need this blog post, you can just mosey on through town, my friend.
But if you’re anything like me, then you’ll need a plan, before you start.
It doesn’t have to be a 200 page book bible (though knock yourself out, if you like doing that) but you might need a few notes before you get started.
Who is your main character? Do you even like them? Because, hell, you’re gonna be hanging out for about 300 pages, so you’d better like that dude.
Or dudette. Because, you know … equality.
What do you even know about them? Apart from how they might act in that first scene? Because you may grasp that temptation in your hot little hands and start writing, because you can see what happens in that first nail-biting, grab ’em by the balls first chapter, but what about AFTER that? Huh?
Did ya think about that?
Course not! You were so excited to get going! And because you succumbed, I bet you’ve got a laptop filled with Chapter Ones? Am I right?
You have to know them. Inside out. Or at least know whether they prefer tea or coffee, or how they might vote in an election. What about their family? Were they screwed up in childhood? Did they have their heart broken? How does that make them feel now?
And if you know your hero, do you know your antagonist just as well? Or did ya think you could just write the bad guy as you go?
I mean, you could, but you’d probably end up with cartoon cutout of a bad guy.
Bad guys have story behind them. Bad guys, think they’re good guys, in their own heads. They’re the heroes of their story, as far as they’re concerned. And what about all your other characters? The sidekick? The walk-on players? The bit parts? You need to know what each of them WANTS. What each of them FEARS. Even if all they do is come into the scene to murder a chicken.
But that’s not enough.
What about your world? Your setting? When is it set? Present day? in the future? Twenty years ago? Because that shit will have an effect on your world. Technology, is a good example. Or politics.
And what are you writing about? What’s your question you want to answer? What theme are you exploring? What bites you in the ass every day, that you feel the need to explore with your words?
Because if you do a little planning, write a little synopsis, maybe do a chapter breakdown, then that stuff can help, my friend.
You don’t have to write down every detail of every happening. Just signpost things you want to happen. Then do a VE Schwab and be a Connect-the-dots writer. They sit halfway between pantsers and plotters.
Those with a map or a compass, generally do a heck of a lot better, then those without.