Writing a novel is not an easy process. If it was, everyone would do it! Some people have a basic idea and are able to sit down and just start writing. I’m not one of those people. I need an outline and more than a general idea before I can start writing. This means that I do a lot of pre-writing, or the work needed before you start writing. Today I’m going to share my pre-writing process in case you’re struggling to get all the things done before you start writing, and I’m also sharing a bunch of resources to help you in case my personal process doesn’t seem like it will work for you.
The post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Kate the (Almost) Great!
My Pre-Writing Process
Do some free writing of either the book or an explanation of the book – Free writing is when you just put your pen/pencil to the paper and let it go. Write about whatever comes to your mind. Be like Elsa and let it go. So when I’m first getting started with a new idea, I do some free writing to get my ideas pumping.
Write some character sketches – I know what you’re thinking: you want me to write character sketches? Character sketches are not actual sketches unless you’re an artist, and then they might be. These are descriptions of your characters and they can be as descriptive as you want. I tend to start with basic descriptions (Becky is a high school senior who wants to get a leg up on her college applications) and then go to more detailed ones (she is average height with dark hair, she wants to make her parents proud, she wants to go to a good college).
World building/research – Depending on what type of book you’re writing, this could take a very short period of time or a very long one. M3 (novel 3) is a realistic fantasy novel, so this is taking forever because I need to create an entire society within our current society. But if you’re writing historical fiction, I imagine that this would also be time-consuming due to the fact that research is super necessary.
Outline (less detailed) – I’m a big outline person because it helps me avoid hitting writer’s block a little bit. It also makes it easier for me to write because I know what everything is moving towards. When I start working on an outline, I focus first on the big picture items. What is the start? What is the climax? What is the ending? By starting with the big basics, I can later connect them in ways that move the story towards the ending.
Outline (more detailed) – After the big picture, I get a bit more specific. Or a lot more. The big question I ask myself is, “What needs to happen to get from point A to point B?” When I wrote Aureole, I planned out each scene in the entire book before I started writing. That was a little to confining for me, so when I wrote TLM (second novel), I wrote paragraphs describing what I wanted to happen in each of the five sections. This way, I knew what was going to happen, but I didn’t have pre-planned scenes that I needed to stick to while writing.
The Novel Planner – This is basically a planner for writers, and I love it. It helps you keep all your pre-writing notes in one place, which is so helpful.
The Pre-Write Project – This is a workbook that walks you through every element of pre-writing. If you don’t know where to start, I suggest starting here!
Novel in a Month Notebook – Pretty self-explanatory.
Outlining Your Novel Workbook Computer Program – This will help you “gain a big-picture view of your plot, character, and theme” right on your computer.Tips and tricks for pre-writing so you can write an amazing book Click To Tweet
What does your pre-writing look like?
Like this post? Check out: