How I Plan New Novels

Through the magic of scheduling posts I bring you...

How Seana Plans New Novels
(A Seana Production)

I love starting new projects. I really do. But sometimes I can get stuck in a rut trying to figure out what it is that I'm missing from my story. Here's how I usually go about planning a new novel.


I start with an idea. A mere seed of a plot. (Ex: Girl's family is brainwashed into the enemy, meets boy who she falls in love with, but he's slowly turning into the enemy as well.) Get a vague idea about what you want this story to be about.

Characters! One of my favorite parts of a novel is the characters that pop up. Witty ones, humorous ones, depressed ones, wise ones... Yes, characters are something to get excited about! Sometimes people have serious trouble coming up with names for their characters. In that case, I recommend you read this post by Nevillegirl. She walks you through some ways to name a character.

Besides names, however, you need to know personalities. What kind of characters do you have? Greedy ones? Frightened ones? Think about their personality, their background, and be sure to make your characters memorable!

I like to figure out my main characters first, locating my protagonist and my antagonist, adding some minor characters in as I go.

Go ahead and swap STEP 3 and STEP 4 if you need to. Some people find that starting with characters is easier than starting with their basic plot.

Become familiar with your novel's world. Is there a forest? A meadow? An ocean? A high-tech city in space? Whatever it is, you need to know what's in it. You don't have to have it memorized with every nook and cranny jotted down on a piece of paper, but you should have an idea of where basic things are. Where does your character live? Where does their friend live? Where does your antagonist live?

Your readers don't know the world that the characters live in. You have to show them.

If it helps, make a map! It might help you, especially if you have a story like LotR, where the characters are crossing mass amounts of the land and the readers might need a visual to know where they're going.

Know what key plot points you're going to include. You don't have to stick to those plot points, but for me it helps simply to organize my thoughts and give me a very rough outline of what I'm going to be writing up to.

Flesh out those plot points a little. Again, you do not have to stick to what you write down. It's just for ideas! I like to do this so that I know who is where at what time, and who isn't for what reason. (Ex: The antagonist is not at the coronation because he's away in his fortress plotting mass destruction on the unguarded neighboring villages.)



That's just how I tend to create new stories. Sometimes I skip step 5 and/or 6, for that's usually for the reason that I just don't have the time (like for school writing projects. Short stories often don't need that extra planning).

How do you set up for writing something new?


  1. I buy a new notebook that reminds me of the type of novel I want to write. Weird, I know, but it works!

    1. That's cool! I never tried that, but it sounds like a pretty creative idea!

  2. I think my ways are pretty similar to yours ... characters come first, and easily, but then Plot comes stalking along like HEY THERE! I AM A WORLD-CLASS EXPERT AT BEING ELUSIVE! My NaNo WIP's plot is (kind of) coming along but I've realised I know little about the world my MC lives in ... I just got a book out from the library, though! And I plan to spend extensive amounts of time online ... HEHEHE, WIKIPEDIA! :D :D :D


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