Planning a novel is as much a matter of personal preference as writing one. Some people don’t like to plan at all, others like to do everything they can to set their novel up so that by the time they actually sit down to write, it’s almost all on the page already. The Snowflake Method is great for the latter, NaNoWriMo’s Dare forums are probably the best place for anyone who wants to just play it by ear!
If you’re still pretty new to long-form writing, a plan can help you to produce a decent first draft, especially if you’re under a time constraint like NaNo. If you’re still developing your craft, trying different methods of planning is probably the best way to find what works for you. Reading the wisdom of published and even prolific writers can make you feel like there is one way to succeed, but I firmly believe that each person has to find their own way, and even if you are trying to become the next John Grisham, his way of putting pen to paper might just not work for you.
So, if you’re interested in planning a novel, try one of the methods I’ve outlined over the past week. Or, try something else. Or, try a combination of multiple methods – you might decide tha tyou want to use just Steps 1 and 2 of Tuesday’s suggestion, and then delve into your characters’ psyches from Wednesday.
There are a hundred (thousand) other ways to plan / outline / plot a novel, and if you feel I missed your favourite, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Similarly, let me know how you get on if you use one of these methods.
For now, I’ll leave you with another option, best suited to a Friday. A few of my fellow Friday Fictioneers are writing long stories in 100 word chunks. Each week, they take the prompt provided by Madison Woods and right the next scene. Check out Craig Towsley’s Owl and Raccoon Fables for an excellent piecemeal example of this, or The Winger Chronicles of Adam Ickes to see how it works doing it chronologically.