6 quick steps to planning out your novel


So, you want to write a novel. It’s been on your mind and every time you think about the emerging plot, you become more and more excited at the idea of writing that story. There is just one problem — you don’t know where or how to get started.


Flickr: Tim Green

Read on for some quick tips for planning out your novel idea:

–Start with a sentence. Yes, just a sentence. How would you sum up your novel idea in just one line? It’s not enough just to think of this sentence; y0u must write it down. This exercise will help you gain clarity of the narrative and your ultimate goals and purpose in writing the story.

Read: Write your very own memoir? Yes, you can!

–Sketch a beginning, a middle and an end. You don’t have to be too specific. But strive to determine what kind of emotions you hope to stir within your reader and give thought to the setting. Will the story begin in the spring and end in the winter? Indoors? On the sea? Surrounded by loved ones or perched on a treetop?

–Think about your characters. Write them down in a notebook. Who are they? How old are they? Describe their physical features. Flesh out their backgrounds. What are their motives and flaws? Do they fall into the hero or villain category?

Read: Creating the perfect villain for your story

–Map out the main milestones of your novel. Write a paragraph describing each momentous occasion and decide how each will help to advance the plot line and the main characters’ development.

–Determine the challenges that your protagonist will face. How will he overcome those challenges? Who will act as his foil? Make a list of the kinds of difficulties he will face throughout the story.

Read: Five tips to write color into your stories

Once you have completed the steps above, write a one-page synopsis of your story. It should be brief and concise and tight. Worry about all the little details later. Just sum up your novel in one page. This will serve as a helpful starting point for you.

Are you ready to get started? Here are some additional tips for getting Chapter One in the books.

Good luck!

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at


Kerri S. Mabee

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