What is important to keep in mind when planning a book? Is it important to create every character and it's abilities before you start to write the actual book? How hard is it to start writing if you don't have the plot fully planned out?

I'm thankfull for answers. Cheers!

4 Answers 4


Different writers have different approaches. Some plot everything out in detail before they begin. Others begin with an idea or a character or even just a picture and start writing to explore from there.

Even for the pre-planners, though, writing is an act of discovery. You are going to learn things about your subject matter, about your characters (in fiction), and about your own ideas as you write. This will force changes to the plan.

I think it is fair to say that writing is recording that which has been imagined, so I think the question becomes: when and by what process does one's imagination form a picture or an idea that is clear enough to write down. For some, a plan may be necessary to reach that point. For others, a plan may lead them away from it.

Personally, I find the plan comes somewhere in the middle of the process, as a means to understand how the threads of things imagined can be brought together into a cohesive whole.

You need to find the thing that gets you to that point at which you have something clearly in your head to be recorded, and then start writing it down.

  • Thanks alot! You're making a whole lot of sense and I will keep it in mind while I write. Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 17:47

Don't be afraid if you have not planned in advance most of the things before you start writing. The worst case would be that you'd have to go back and change some things but this is not bad and probably would happen anyways. If you plan everything in advance then when the time comes to sit down and write you might find that even though the idea looked well in your head it is different when you start putting flesh on your characters. So planning is no insurance for less changes later. Also if you plan the whole story in details before, this would require a very complex way of writing down everything and building your structure so that you don't forget anything. Also this way when you start writing then you might find there isn't that much thrill any more as you know how it will end before even starting. What I like is having a single thing what I'd like writing about - could be a place, and event or a character. I first imagine a character and have some vague knowing of what I would like it to be about. Then I can start writing and developing. There surely is no Correct and False approach. For example if you write a biography, then you are already working with basically ready story. What I'd like to mention as a warning is that when you have a big part of the story in your head, it is difficult putting it on paper because You mess up with what you know and what he reader knows. For example you might have a very round and complex character in your head and you think it would be like that in the book. But when you start writing you don't put a lot on presenting this character (because it already feels complete in your head) to the reader and miss to convey what you have imagined. This could happen with everything and even with a complete story.


You don't always have to plan before writing something. When I started my novel, all I wrote was a basic outline and I had about three characters envisioned, but when I got to writing, things started coming together for me. That being said, the way you write can determine if you are a "plotter" or a "pantser." If you do want to plan your novel though, and you have reached that conclusion, this blog post from Jericho Writers is a helpful starting point.


Failing to plan is planning to fail.

The key to planning is organization.

Prior to that you may need to use creativity methods to have something that needs organizing. And you may need to do some research too.

One you have a pile of stuff that can be used the way ahead is organizing it. Sort it into piles that are related. Name each pile. These are your high level sections.

Within each pile repeat. You will have chapter piles.

Repeat the process until you have stand alone items for a sentence or possibly a paragraph.

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