Using the novel planner tools helps you build a meaningful story. Whether you use a step-by-step outline process, like the Now Novel dashboard or other story software, try these tips for planning and making progress:
Make better story progress with planning tools: 7 tips
- Take time to learn your new scheme
- Planning and brainstorming in detail, with a purpose
- Keep copies of your story plan
- Use visual graphs too
- Incorporating inspirational secondary sources
- Update your story plan while drafting
- Build your blueprint into manageable units
Let’s dive a little deeper into these new layout ideas:
1. Take time to learn your new scheme
For any creative program, there is a learning curve. Some curves are steeper than others, depending on the features of your writing instruments.
Take a half hour to explore the interface of your new planning tool and navigate. What does each feature do and how can it help in planning your story?
If you have any questions or doubts about your story outline, reach out to us and ask the creators. Not only will you get a personal answer: it will also help the developers of your writing instrument understand what could be simpler and more straightforward.
Thanks to this feedback loop, our innovative browser-based tools have undergone through two major iterations and further upgrades to the “quality of life” that members demand.
2. Planning and brainstorming in detail, with a purpose
what You are Want to know how comfortable it feels to start writing your first draft?
This varies for each writer. Some of us want per-character profiles, character surveys, and a one-page summary of each planned story setting.
Others need bare bones – a main character and their initial goal and motivation, as well as an idea of the struggle they will face as they begin their journey.
Getting started with planning has its benefits – you get used to creating, creating, and drawing lines in the sand.
If you have created an outline for one character (eg detailing your protagonist, appearance, and goals), try creating another character while stimulating and the creative side of your mind is activated.
Our anonymized data showed that writers who define more elements of their story up front tend to persevere more with work in progress.
It helps to start with a fuller mental picture of the characters and places that will fill the pages of your story.
3. Keep copies of your story plan
Many designers do this, in case they want to undo their changes. Musicians too.
Thoughts are fleeting. Sometimes you change a piece of work in progress a little more than you intended, and the next thing you fumble about is how to proceed.
Print what you’ve selected or subtracted periodically so far (or save a digital file if you’d prefer to keep wastage to a minimum).
Keep a simplified bulleted history of changes to your story plan along with the date as well. This way, you can go back to a previous version of the outline whenever you want or need it. You can name the outline version by date and change the increment, for example “Romance WIP, V2.”
In the Now Novel dashboard, you can download your outline in PDF format at any point in the process, numbered with the current date in the footer. This makes it easy to keep track of which version is the latest (and your favorite variety of your initial story themes).
4. Use visual graphs too
It is useful to jot down ideas, passages of ideas, and characters. When you do this, you push the parts of your story together.
However, there are times when you may feel that all the text you have accumulated can be confusing.
Simplify and streamline your organization by creating visual outlines for your story. These could be:
- Post-its with one-sentence, action-based chapter summarys arranged on the board (eg, “Detective Warren has been called to Dobsonville”)
- Event schedules (either scene by scene or chapter by chapter)
- Approximate map of the sites In the world of your story
- Charts that track the rise and fall of the rising and falling chart points affect your characters
These macro-level planning exercises help maintain a bird’s eye view as you delve into the ground-level intricacies of your draft.
5. Incorporate inspirational secondary sources
When using a new layout like the story dashboard, feel free to include links and notes as you go.
You might, for example, find that while brainstorming such an essential part of your story as setting up a romantic arc where the tutorial gives you ideas for details about the daily lives of your characters.
Adding a link at this point in the outline is a useful way to track secondary overtones to use when crafting actual scenes.
Plan your story the easy way
Answer the prompts step-by-step to see your central idea grow, then upgrade to drag-and-drop story planning and personal writing assistance.
6. Update your story plan while drafting
We often approach identification and formulation as linear processes, the first leading to the second.
Once you’ve created a new indicative plan, it’s often helpful to keep it updated during the draft if anything important changes.
This could be something small, like a character’s name. Or it could be a major change in plot point. Or you may want to make a new avatar that appeared while you were crafting a specific scene.
Updating your story plan along with your active story draft will ensure that you have a macro structure document that outlines the details of your story.
This way, you can exit the detail level view at any time, like a hawk, to see your entire story stretched out with only the highlights for more visual organization.
7. Structure your chart into manageable units
One advantage of using a new layout like the Now Novel dashboard is the ability to focus on one item at a time. To break the complex story planning process into manageable tasks. As Novel member David said, this allows you to:
“…extract ideas and concepts… [and] Developing the book…in a structured approach”
You can start by brainstorming individual character arcs or plot points. For example, incidents that bring characters closer to their goals or create obstacles between them and their goals. In the “Basic Plot” section of the Now Novel story dashboard, we called the previous and recent “rise plot points” “falling plot points”.
Instead of trying to imagine your entire story and how all the details are presented in one fell swoop, this will make your planning process more manageable.
Need tools to plan your novel? Try the first two steps of The Process now, and get unlimited access, weekly editor cash, and monthly coach questions and answers when you upgrade.