From the anti-planning writer: How plotting is helping me

I wanted my first post of 2011 to be something awesome, something amazing, something that people would really care about….but I can’t think of anything.

Typically, I write posts about whatever I’ve been thinking about or reading about the most. So although this first 2011 post may not be anything phenomenal, it’s what’s been on my mind the most.


That’s what I’ m doing with my manuscript right now. You know that article I posted the link to a few days ago? The one about plotting and J. K. Rowling? Well, I’m doing it. I’m plotting my WIP. And it’s saving my life. And my sanity. And making my book better. I can feel it.

I’ve always been kind of anti-planning when it comes to writing. Outlines are just not my thing. So when I started out this WIP over two years ago, I just dove right in. Thinking back, I don’t regret how I did it, because I think my book has slowly been shaped into something really great. But I do wonder if it would’ve been faster if I’d planned out more.

Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing I know for sure: right now my book needs to be plotted out. I have a complex story with complex relationships and subplots that I want to have available if I ever have the chance to write a sequel. But they have to be resolved enough for a stand-alone story.

It’s a heck of a lot to keep track of.

Now that I’m plotting it out in Excel, I can see where the holes are and where I should probably add in more, just to remind the reader of the subplot. Some subplots (and even one of my major plots) falls away entirely for a few chapters. And that’s a problem. But now I can see it in this nice, neat spreadsheet.

Maybe you consider yourself an anti-planning writer too…but I would definitely recommend just trying plotting. Do it once, and take a look at whether you could see the plot holes better. It might be worth the time and effort. 🙂


About Karen Krueger

I write for teens when I'm not chasing after two cute kids. I love to sing and eat cereal (though not at the same time), and I most certainly am not a vampire because I'm addicted to sunshine.
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2 Responses to From the anti-planning writer: How plotting is helping me

  1. I used to be an anti-plotter, too. At least, I thought I was, because I’d write out a basic “this is what happens” document, then write the story. And the story ALWAYS diverted from that first basic outline. I never realized I was actually plotting with that outline!

    With my current wip, I did that, then wrote a more complex and complete outline for my next draft. Then I plotted out each subplot. I couldn’t believe how much easier it made my rewriting! I’m definitely in love with plotting now.

    I’m glad your finding a plotting process that’s working for you! It really does make things so much smoother.

  2. Good luck! As a notoriously rigid plotter, I’m taking a risk and writing the first few chapters of my new novel WITHOUT KNOWING WHERE IT IS GOING! Agh, I think I might die. But it’s an adventure, and hopefully I can figure out what will happen in the end.

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