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How much of your story do you plan before you begin writing?

Kutie Pie

"It is my destiny."
I try to plan out the plot the best I can before I start writing. It pretty much goes like this:

1. Get bored.

2. Day-dream/draw.

3. Come up with idea for said day-dream/drawing.

4. If it looks good, develop a short scenario around it.

5. Expand that scenario.

6. Develop a story around said-scenario.

7. Expand the story.

8. Discover the main plot.

9. When enough has been conjured up out of thin air, start writing.

10. The middle chapters fill themselves in. Inspiration comes quicker the more I'm into it.

That's pretty much it. That's where all my stories come from, when I'm just sitting around wherever and thinking about other things instead of what I was supposed to pay attention to at the time. If I obsess over it long enough and think it may have a good plot to it, I go ahead and just write it out.

So yes, I'm technically making things up as I go along, as long as I make some sense around it. Just like everyone else here. Huzzah!


Forever a pirate
I make up just about everything as I go along. The only main idea I had in my current story is that Team Aqua is searching for Manaphy. When I got to writing the final chapter, I didn't even know if they were going to actually find it or not.

My method is a bad one though. I end up with my characterization all over the place and a plot that resembles digimon's "but that wasn't the REAL enemy".

Don't be like me, kids.


Dr. Geek
I think of the title, the main protagonist, the main antagonist, the plot and the other Pokemon. Everything else I make up as I write.


Elite Trainer
Before I started my first, I had thought up pretty much the entire plot with some holes I'm still trying to fill. But I'm not the best example of a writer.

JX Valentine

*holds up a hand and shakes it* Typically, I plot half my stories. I know the ending and a general idea of what I want to have happen. Sometimes, like for my baby at the moment, I might have entire scenes written out that I may or may not use in the future. However, when it comes to sitting down and writing chapters, this is me:


In other words, I just type out whatever I think sounds about right at the time. Fun fact? As a result, everything I write has documents upon documents of alternate scenes that I just threw out and rewrote somewhere along the line. The reason why is because I frequently find better routes to take mid-writing, so I can't plan very carefully because I know I might chuck out something for an even better idea later on.

I'd imagine it'd be essentially the same with collabs. While planning is of course good so that you know you two are on the same page at all times, you also don't want to spend most of your time planning and not enough time writing. It's so very easy to get lost and go overboard in the planning stages of a chapter, and the more you do that, the harder it'll be to sit down and write because you're basically writing between details you've set in concrete, if that makes sense.

You probably should gun for a happy medium: having a general idea of what it is you want to have happen but never plan things out too far in advance. You never know when either one of you might come up with a great idea to have at the end of a scene that's currently being written, so you'll want to give some leeway for that. The only real difference between working solo and working on a collab is probably the fact that you'll still need to do some planning each chapter so one author doesn't run off and do something that's objectionable to the other, but as I and a number of others have said, you don't necessarily have to plan every single chapter all at once if you just can't work that way -- or if either partner can't work that way, at the very least.

Huzzah for potential redundancy? :D


Call me Adriane
It depends on the story for me. For example, my digimon story, I have chapters where its just off the top of my head work, and there are chapters I carefully plan out, plan out a little bit, and so forth. I have most of it planned out, and even some of its sequel. Another example is my cardcaptors story. I have three of the captures planned out, writen on paper, right now. It gives the basic idea, but I don't have each movement writen down. I have a lot of it planned out just from freely thinking, at random times, like when I'm laying down trying to get sleep, but can't, or even when I'm in the bathroom, I think about stories, plan out some parts, and I usually go with it.


I know about 95% of what's going to happen in Creed. Right now I'm just shuffling some events around, making sure there are no holes (for water retention obviously) and smoothing out some of the story lines.


┓┏ 凵 =╱⊿┌┬┐
Thanks to all of you who replied!

Hmm . . . so the general consensus is that you shouldn't be planning heaps of stuff - well, to the extent that you don't give yourself room to wriggle. I suppose that's a sign that I should stop planning this co-write fic so much (for now, until I feel more planning is required). I definitely will give us room to "wriggle," so the event of the plan aren't set in stone. I suppose we've definitely got enough planning that we can keep writing for a while.

I'm going to have a go at planning (lol I wrote planning the first time) writing a fic without heaps of planning. I've got some rough ideas, but I'm just going to write and write and write, and see how my writing goes when I'm just writing whatever comes into my head.

Thanks again :D


Well-Known Member
I wouldn't go off of what other people say, you really just need to find something that works for you. Writing is a really personal thing, and everyone does goes about it different ways; for me, I keep a couple bullet points of things I want to get to just so I don't drift off, others have pages and pages of notes, and some people don't plan at all. If this is your first time (or one of your first times) writing a fic I would recommend planning at least the first few chapters just so you don't get sidetracked or lose motivation, which is really easy to do at the beginning, but as you write you'll see what works best.


Writer's Block
I have a general idea of the beginning and the ending, and scenes in the middle that I want to include. The beginning and the ending are pretty much set in stone, but the scenes in the middle are subject to change.

With the current story I'm preparing to publish, I have up to chapter 10 planned out even though I've written up only chapter 2. I like having an idea of what I want to go into chapter.


Shine, Eevee, shine!
I'm not a fanfic writer, but I do have lots of my own stuff! I usually get the idea, start with a character, and start to mold the main story line. Most of my stories come from dreams...

So it's a little planned out for me. But I usually save the beginning for the end. I think up interesting bits, and writing those down makes me work further along the story line. I'm not very good at writing beginnings until the story is down in a rough draft.
My favorite website to look up baby names is babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com.
They have a meaning search, so its a good site for my tastes.

Trainer Robert

Well-Known Member
I'm like almost everyone else. I plan the beginning and the end.

But what I useually do, before I go writing. Is come up with Chapter names first and figure out how to plan them out, to work with the story I'm writing. I mostly plan out chapters ahead of time, then jolt them down on paper. In case if I ever plan to change the titles around or keep them as they are.

It really depends on, how much determination you have of wanting to finish the story ^_^


Devoted Spriter
Well, I believe it's good to have at least a rough outline of what will happen several chapters ahead. Knowing something is going to happen later on allows you as an author to drop a few hints to foreshadow upcoming events. You are also less likely to write yourself into a corner where nothing makes sense.

I tried writing a Pokemon fanfic a few years back. I didn't plan ahead. I had character backgrounds and ideas of what I wanted to happen, but it never came together because I eventually wrote myself into a situation where things started to get very confusing, not only for my readers, but for myself. I'm not saying to plan every little detail from start to end, but it's good to know what you are writing towards.

My current story, an original fiction, is at Part Two, Chapter 8. I have all of Parts One through Three outlined out. (Each as 15 chapters) The story doesn't end at Part Three, but I haven't outlined farther than that. By having an outline on what to follow, I know where I'm headed at the moment. I know my destination (the ending of the story) and I can see the path ahead of me (the outlines of chapters I've yet to draft and type). The gap between how far I can currently see and my destination will slowly close as I draft, type, and outline more.

Having a rough idea of what you are planning will keep things flowing smoother and helps the pacing of the chapters. You aren't restricted to the outlines though. I've added and changed up many scenes so that they don't follow the outline, but I looked ahead to make sure that it won't disrupt anything too important to the plot line. On occasion these added scenes allow me to throw in more to the outline to expand the plot and character development.

I think it's good to plan out at least five chapters ahead. I had all of Part three outlined by the time I started on Part two, do you have to plan 30 chapters ahead? No, I just like to outline far ahead so I can make changes to the story and remember them. It helps a lot with pacing your story in the long run. Again, it's there to help, but not restrict you.

Burnt Flower

Horror Mistress
For one of my fanfics (Two of a Kind), I had over 50 pages of notes written about characters, detailed chapter summaries, red herrings, foreshadowing, etc.

For another one (Maggots of Society), I had a beginning and an ending pictured in my head and I just went with it.

So...yeah, I can plan very thoroughly or not.

Treecko's Awesomeness

Treecko is claimed!
Well, before I even started writing The Nova Travels, I had the entire story planned out. That flew out the window the second I started writing. I start doing something I planned out, then think 'No! That character would never do that!' or 'What was I thinking? That could never happen!' Basically, I start writing from a plan, then realize my plan was crap, and write from what I think works best as I'm writing.


One heck of a Nobody
I plan the basics of a story and then let the characters do as they may with the occasional nudging in the righ direction from time ta time.

Missingno. Master

Poison-type Trainer
With the Adventure of Adventureness, I planned almost nothing out. It just started as a random idea I had one night. I decided to run with it and see where it went. With the Awesome of Awesomeness, I planned a little further in advance. Around the time half the story was done, I knew what the final chapter was gonna be like. I currently have the ending of The Random of Randomness planned out, as well as the general gist of The Epic of Epicness.


Elite Trainer
I had almost everything planned out before I began, but then I changed my mind about a lot of stuff about when I started. So it's been taking me longer to be posting. But it was the right thing to do.