Whenever I was asked to plan a story as a child I did not like to do it. I wanted to get started right away and I always thought that planning got in the way of what I really wanted to do. I don't think like that anymore. In fact I enjoy the planning side of writing as I learn things as I do it.
Yesterday I was going to write a part of 'Book 2: Survival Instinct'. I wanted to know how a character (I'm not going to give you too much details, it might spoil the story for you!) could travel over America in 1966. I wanted to make sure this is accurate so I researched how to the character could do it and what route they would have had to take. I have now learnt about Greyhound buses from this time and this has formed part of my plan.
'The Adventures of Eric and Ursula' has a number of different plans which I call arcs. The main plan is the story arc. This is the first plan I did and covers all four books. The story arc is broken into four smaller arcs for each of the books. I break these down into three clear segments - a beginning, a middle and an end. Each of these I break down into six chapters. The chapters I also break down into three segments - a beginning, a middle and an end. Each of these segments I aim to be around one thousand words, which makes each chapter three thousand words and each book approximately ninety thousand words. This all sounds very logical and not in the least bit creative or imaginative. However, this is only my plan. 'An Extra-Ordinary Beginning' ended up with thirty chapters plus a prologue and an epilogue and was over ninety-four thousand words long. The plan shapes what I am going to do; I know where I have started and where I am going to. However, if I have a good idea or want to change something I will do it. The plan does not restrict me, it just makes me more focused.
I believe that as a reader you need to like or dislike the characters in a book. You want to cheer on the 'goodies' and boo the 'baddies.' To achieve this I plan the characters carefully. As well as basic information like how the characters look I also plan their back story, I think about what they like and dislike, what motivates them, if they have any personality quirks, and so on. Most importantly I create a story arc for each of the characters. These are then included within my story arcs. Some readers have said that Alexander is not as descriptive as other characters. I agree with these comments but there is also a reason I have written him this way which I hope will become clearer as Books 2,3 and 4 are released. If they had said this and I had not planned Alexander I would be worried. Instead I am thinking that Alexander is going according to plan and am actually quite pleased!
So, planning is the key. It may not be as imaginative as writing but it can be as creative and if you approach it in right way it can be fun too.
is the author of the popular 'Adventures of Eric and Ursula' books. The series have been called 'wonderful' and 'fantastic' and are 5 star books on Amazon.