My confession

February 24, 2017

Which one are you??

Jess here, so what am I confessing about?

Well it’s quite simple really: I don’t know how to plot a novel. My brain freezes every time I try. I can’t seem to connect the dots and pull it all together to make a cohesive idea from beginning, middle and end.

Plotter or a panster? It’s the age old question among writers. So which one are you? Do you fly by the seat of your plants or to do plot it all out before you start? Or are you like me, someone in the middle. I can’t plan a whole novel out from beginning to end, nor can I just start writing. I need guide posts for my story, a basic map if you will.

Do me a favour and Google “how to plot a novel”. Hands up if you’re like me and got overwhelmed with all the different ways you can plot a novel? I’ve tried a couple of different plotting methods and it hasn’t clicked with how I think  and process information. Bottom line is I’m still searching.

What can I do to help this? I’ve been thinking about this and part of the answer is that I’m just going to have to learn by writing and revising until I get it. The other part is keep searching and learning off those who have gone before me. Listening to their journeys and taking the stuff that applies to me and see where it takes me.

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned so far is: DON’T GIVE UP.

So what if I can’t plot?

  • Keep writing and writing.
  • Revise and revise again.
  • Revise with help – critique partners, established authors, editors – these are the people who can help you.

So I encourage you as I’m encouraging myself to find your people and keep writing!

What works for you? I’d love to hear about it.









  • Reply Belinda G February 24, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    A pantser from way back! For my novels I usually have a vague plot (often with huge holes that I fill as I write). Short stories I don’t plot at all, I have an idea for the start and just write and see where it goes. After the first draft, when I work out where the story is going, then I might stop and think about the order of things and what extra it needs.
    Have you read Stephen Kings “On writing”. He starts with a question ie “What if a writer got kidnapped by a mad fan who wanted him to resurrect an old character?” and then he just writes and sees how it ends. I took great comfort in that. Everytime I had read an article on plotting they made me feel inferior! So always love hearing from fellow pantsers!

  • Reply Jessica Wakefield February 26, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Hi Belinda, thanks for dropping by. Sorry for late reply, still getting the hang of blogging again. I too a long break from it. I’ve heard of Stephen King’s On Writing book, I believe it is hard to get these days. Anyway, I definitely need a basic plan, one that I can have lots of room for flexibility but still giving me a basic road map.

    I don’t plan short stories either, I just write and see what happens.
    Thanks again for dropping by our blog 🙂

  • Reply Elevator Pitch to Finish! Writers Workshop – Adventures yet Unwritten Blog March 16, 2017 at 6:13 am

    […] my confession post on being unable to plot a novel? Well thanks to Lisa, I have a solid foundation to work with now. […]

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