Are You Planning to Fail

Read any articles on writing a novel or follow many authors and they all speak about how important planning your story is. Many courses I have studied and books I have read go meticulously into how to plan your novel.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

There are many techniques from storyboards, to notebooks, to post it notes. There is even a planning feature on Scrivener, one of my favourite writing apps. I have religiously planned two of my novels every chapter. The third I have pretty much left to chance knowing where I want to go but not how I am getting there. I can’t say which method has been easier but seeing as the only one not finished is the one not planned this might speak volumes.

However, does planning make you a better author? Not if I look at the advice of my favourite author Chris Carter. He has written 9 horror/crime books and not planned one of them. He says that he has an idea and sometimes a rough finish point and after that he lets the characters take him on a journey. His writing is fast-paced and hooks you, for this particular author not planning is his key to success.

He is not alone on this

“First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!” Ray Bradbury

“Outlines are the last resource of bad fiction writers who wish to God they were writing masters’ theses.” Stephen King

I think the best advice is to find a method that works and stick with it. As our writing will all be individual so should our process. Plan for success but don’t plan just to plan.


Published by Sam H Arnold

Sam H Arnold is a writer of True Crime, Parenting and Writing Tips articles. If you have enjoyed her work you might consider donating her a coffee on Ko-Fi. Links to this and all her other work can be found on the about me page.

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