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

I don't plan enough. I was told
stereotypical mentor-esque person said:
know the middle, then the end and the story will write itself
and since then i've lived by that and its not the best. my readers with my phone number text me, foaming at the mouth almost daily and all i can do is glare at an empty word document some more.


One heck of a Nobody
Ya know I just realized how many hours I have spent on Meebo with my partner/rival discussing every aspect of TDS before either of us have written anything....wow...but we don't tell each other everything :D. Funny thing about these collabs huh?


Swadloon cuddle~
I've had rough sketches of the premise and general plot structure of a few fics.

Mostly, I write margin notes as I go detailing an ever-evolving sketch of where I'm going next. I find this creates the most believeable flow of events, and I'm never forcing the plot to go to some predetermined point.


Μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω ᾿Αχιλῆος
Suddenly this thread is alive again somehow because what

Anyway, I plan very little. When I started out on Champion Game (which is shaping up to be something of an epic - currently ~114,000 words) I had no idea where I was going. All I had was a very general premise: a kid becomes Champion and deals with it accordingly. I didn't even have the world of dreams storyline in mind until the minute I actually wrote it, as evidenced by the slipshod nature of some of those early chapters. Contradictions abound, I am sure.

Recently, as I've settled into my rhythm, I've begun to plan a bit more. It's mostly in my head, though. Ren's next couple of weeks have been planned out for him in-story, so I know exactly what he's going to be doing for several chapters yet when he's in his own world. The concurrent world of dreams arc, though - the one that is basically the main story - could go anywhere. There is one fixed point in time where something big is going to go down, but I don't know which way it's going to fall. Could be any one of several.

My point is, my planning is very free-flowing and fluid. I don't nail things down - at least, not important things. Having smaller details planned out in advance actually does help - it makes it easier to focus on the main part of the story because you don't get stuck wondering how he's going to get from Slateport to Fortree in two hours. (Answer: giant Skarmory!)

I think that planning too much makes the story dull. It takes some of the joy out of writing for me, because one of my favourite things about writing a story is that I'm discovering it as I go along, just as my readers are. If I already know what's going to happen and where I'm going, it ruins that fun a little bit and takes away a good chunk of my motivation. It works differently for different people, obviously; I know some very good writers who absolutely cannot write a thing without a detailed plan, while other successful writers are, like me, entirely willing to do the whole thing by the seat of their pants. I can't say either way is better, but I do know which is better for me.

I guess that's what matters in the end, huh? ^_^ But yes, I'm a pantser through and through. I forge boldly on into the unknown rather than treading familiar ground. My story grows and evolves as I write it, and I love that feeling. It really makes me feel like I'm creating something.