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By Johannes Helmold

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how to plan a bookToday, I would like to share my way of planning books. I have already posted my thoughts regarding the usefulness of planning; now I would like to focus on a detailed analysis of this process, with the example of my first book.

It all started from a general idea; I had no specific intention to write a novel. On the contrary, I remember I had no particular plans, but I had a thought in my head that seemed interesting to me, and I said to myself: “Hey, it could make a great novel!” So, knowing what you want to write about is the number one thing, in my opinion.

After you have decided what idea you want to express in your novel, you will need the general perspective. In other words, you will need to design the overall backbone of your story. For example, if you are writing a detective story, the backbone could look like this: introducing a victim—murder scene—introducing detective, the main character—gathering evidence—second murder—detective’s sudden insight—clash with the murderer—finale. Of course, it does not need to be that simple, but in my opinion, this backbone should not be changed once you create it. The backbone defines the inner logic of your writing—it’s the pure essence of the plot; everything else is decorations.

Create a plan for your novel chapter-by-chapter. You should write down the main point of each of the chapters your story will have. You don’t need to make it detailed—focus on the most crucial moments that will correspond with the logic of the general backbone, and move the story forward.

This can be done through a process: you don’t need to create this plan in advance. Before starting each new chapter, dedicate 10-15 minutes to sketching out a plan for it, and you will see how much easier and smoother your writing process will become.

After you are done with the main part (I mean, completing the book) you are going to face the second major task: editing and proofreading. But these will be described in my following blog posts, so stay updated!

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