How I Plan My Stories

I actually don’t know which subcategory this should go in! Bad Shanos! So I will link the @ForumStaff :pleading_face:

But anyway, I thought I would give you all some details on my massive, elaborate planning process!

It has developed and evolved over the years to become what it is now. I like it as it is because I am someone who thinks in a really disorganised manner and I need a little bit of structure to make sure that I don’t leave out important details. Plus, I’ve been having some issues with my memory since the depression and so this is a great way to ensure that I don’t forget any of the details!

There are some links on here to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

  1. Lay Out My Fabula Storytelling Cards: I take a particularly large part of my wall at home and grab some blu tack. They work best when they are stuck up on the wall somehow! Plus, this means that I can move details around as and when I want to, which is awesome. Every story has a slightly different structure and the Fabula Cards should be used as a guide rather than a rigid set of rules.

  2. Create Cards For My Characters and Locations: My next step is to make similar playing cards for my characters. For this, I bought a set of blank playing cards that I could use for my characters. Personally, I chose to use sharpies on them so that I will always have a copy of the name of the characters. I got a colourful set for myself so that I could make sure that the main characters, secondary characters, love interests, etc could be seen straight away! I wrote their full name on the back with their role in the story and then on the front, I just wrote the name that I refer to them by most in the story. These can then be blu-tacked to the wall and used in the same way as the Fabula Storytelling Cards. If you’re someone who doesn’t feel like having their character names permanently on the cards, try getting some glossy playing cards instead and using whiteboard markers on them so that you can rub the work out at the end of your planning sesion. Make sure to use multiple colours, though!

  3. Write Important Details Down: If you are already aware of things that will be happening in your story, get yourself a pack of sticky notes. These can be moved around easily, so they are a great choice!

  4. Fill Out the Fabula Deck: All of the questions it asks? Fill out the deck! Answer all of the questions for all of the sections that you are going to be using in your story! Do it for as many characters as you’d like! Use different coloured sticky notes for different characters if you’re like me and you need to visual prompt! Then, take a picture of the whole plan and make sure that you can read it all in the picture.

  5. Plan Chapter By Chapter by Chapter: This is where your playing cards will come in handy. You see, I sort people out by location to start with. If Evanna is at the Palace at the start of the story, I put her there! Then, if she moves, I can make note of that on a sticky note so that I know where she starts and ends each chapter and how she got there. This is super important and useful as it stops a lot of plot holes. Because you are aware of where everyone was at the start of your chapter, you’re not going to have people jumping to random locations at random times when it seems like they shouldn’t be able to get there. Group your characters by location and then add the sticky notes around them to show what they do and how they act. Then, take a picture of each chapter at least once. I recommend doing a chapter-start picture and a chapter-end picture so that you can show where characters move to.

  6. Write it All Down on Notebook.Ai: This is my final step. Once I have got all of my pictures, I take the time to write down all of these notes on notebook.ai. Not only does this mean I always have a place to come back to, but it also means that I have consolidated the knowledge so it is harder to forget.

I know. It’s long and intense! However, it is super helpful to visualise your whole story in this way! I highly recommend!

@Writers how do you plan your stories?

16 Likes

I’ll put it in help and advice :wink:

7 Likes

Good El :eyes:

This is where I tend to stick out like a sore thumb. I have over 80 chapters planned out to intense detail already, my entire world planned and filled out, dozens of characters planned out and the entire conflict of my story set up and ready to roll. Planning is so much fun to me, I just suck at actually writing :joy:


God those Fabula cards are so cool, on a sidenote

2 Likes

Yes, shade is being thrown to the teleporting of the later Game of Thrones seasons :joy:

1 Like

I love Fabula! And I love their new Fake News Nebula Cards so, so much, too!

2 Likes

Bookmarked

It will be an interesting read since I don’t plan that much myself

I think I have to look at what this is to understand :innocent:

This sounds super cool and helpful but I’m not that organized to actually do something like that. I write stuff down in documents and it might get messy but I just can’t keep up with too much organization thing :joy:

It sounds really intense :rofl: I want to try it some day but I don’t think it would work too well with me. When I have the main characters and outlines/plot I just get into writing. I might have a document where I can keep notes and that’s about it. Then again I haven’t finished a story sooo… I’m not saying no to trying cards an stuff. :wink:

1 Like

I think a big part of it is also what kinda story you’re writing! Because I’m writing a fantasy, I have to think about and plan the whole world! How is the London from QofF different from our London (as it’s set centuries in the future)? How did the world get the way it is? How does magic change the way people think, act and interact with the world around them? A lot of people take for granted the fact that magic would change everything, but the internet did! Could you imagine what the discovery of Faeries would do? :eyes:

So I need to plan to hell to avoid the inconsistencies and massive glaring plot holes that you can see in works like the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Star Wars. There are so many characters each with their own magic power that may evolve as they learn more about it. I can’t imagine not planning it!

1 Like

Of course, you have the history and the locations and the customs and how magic changed people’s perceptions of religion etc

1 Like

I write a bad draft and then take notes on plot holes and stuff to research :laughing: But yes it probably depends. But I’ve never been able to keep up with calendars and sticky notes, and my notes in general are super messy and I never read them

I mean yeah, but those are so good stories :pleading_face: But yes! It would be fun with something without major inconsistencies :joy:

I watched an interview with GRR Martin and he forgot background characters he had killed off and stuff, a bit funny :joy: But his series is massive. It also makes sense that multiple characters are named the same or have similar names

Anyways, I should definitely try card stuff! :wink: