You’ve been daydreaming about your story for ages, your ideas have been fed, watered and bloomed quite nicely and you’re itching to really start writing. So, do you outline or just jump right in?
That entirely depends on your preference. In truth everyone works different and some people prefer the seat-of-their-pants approach where they just write and the story unfolds and gets organised as they write and others prefer the comfort of an outline structure.
Whether you are writing a novel or a short story it is a good idea to have your MAIN PLOT before you get too much written down.
The Main Plot is the singular thread that runs through the novel/story. You may have character ideas or scene ideas but eventually you need to think about a plot. I recommend that you do this sooner rather than later.
I thought it was about time I actually addressed plot. (FYI – This will most likely not be the only article I write about plots)
The plot is the pathway that winds through your story. It is the veins that carry the characters, the intrigue, the tension etc. It is the structure. So, it is pretty important.
That being said I’ve read some stories (not to mention seen some movies) that appear as if the writer has completely forgotten that a plot is needed.
A writer should spend time in the plot. They should stand in the middle of the vast flat land until they see at least some semblance of pathway. It might be a straight road, a winding, twisting footpath or a spider-web of tracks that continually intersect.
As writers it is so easy to think of a character, a basic scene for that character and then jump right into writing. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great character-driven books but even these need a plot.
Okay, so you now know how I feel about plots. Let’s go into some details
While the idea of just paper and pen may have been the tools needed back in the day for writers, most of us have more requirements now.
So here is my list of writer tools that I find useful. We are all different and so you might not need all of these, but I think at least some of these are good for every writer to have.