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How an author plans out their next novel

How a best-selling author plans for their next novel

It might not work for everyone, but it works for me!

I often get asked how I go about planning a novel, mapping out the plot points, characters and whatnot.

Some writers will be surrounded by hundreds of Post-It notes jam-packed with minor plot progression details. That meticulous approach (similar to the image below) has never really worked for me, although I concede that it would be nice to know what I'm doing rather than 'winging it' as I often do.

An author mapping our their next book

I've just started my next novel and I thought I'd share the extent of the planning for my next book. This detailed document (pictured below) was crafted during a nice walk along the railway line on the Isle of Man this morning and essentially maps out the entire journey for me. It's certainly nothing glamorous or overly detailed. But this is all I need to get going. It's also an approach that's worked for me in my previous 22 novels. But you just have to find the approach that works best for you. This is essentially the skeleton of my novel and I just need to develop subplots to put some meat on the bone.

Also, when you start a book, the thought of writing 20 to 30 chapters/75,000 words is exceptionally daunting. I just break it down and treat each chapter almost as a short story. Typically, it takes me 12 to 14 weeks to write a novel. This usually equates to around 5/700 words a day...not that much when you think about it! Be structured and try to write something every day. For me, just get the words down, complete the book and then look back and edit once you've finished.

If you need any creative writing assistance or would like a writing mentor, you can find details of my services by clicking the image below:

How an author plans their next novel

In my experience, if you spend too long mapping out and planning you don't tend to get much done or often never even start. Sometimes, in my humble opinion, it's better to jump in and get going and see where the journey takes you.

Oh, I've reversed the image and blurred bits out as I don't want to give the game away on the plot at this stage

Welcome inside the whacky world of a novelist. If you'd like to ask any questions about planning your novel or, indeed, would like to share how you do, it'd be lovely to hear from you!

Currently, I'm also desperately working through the edits on my latest completed novel Life's a Pitch Rock the Rock which is due for release on Amazon in September. I'm not a huge fan of the editing process but it's a very necessary evil. If you've spent months writing a novel, then why would you let it down with poor editing?

You can pre-order my new book by clicking on the book cover below. Whatever you're working on or, for that matter, reading, then I hope you enjoy it.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for :)

Life's a Pitch Rock the Rock by J C Williams an author from the Isle of Man

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