NaNoWriMo: Planning

Recently I found a video on YouTube of Brandon Sanderson, one of my favourite writers, teaching a class in writing fantasy and sci-fi and I thought I would tell you about how I go about writing. I should probably point out the fact that i am not a ‘writer’, I write in my spare time and I love it but I have never been published, so whatever I say here is just from my personal experience.

Are you a Planner or a Pants-er?

If you’ve done NaNoWriMo before, this is one of the questions that will pop up on your screen. Before I started I had no idea. My experience with writing began and ended with me imagining a scene, be it descriptive or dialogue driven, and I would mull it over in my mind before finally writing it down. When it came to NaNoWriMo I realised that because of the time constraints I definitely was a planner. Give me all the plans!

How do I go about planning a story?

There are hundreds of author quotes telling you, or giving you advice, on how to plan, but the best advice I’ve heard is Brandon Sanderson’s lecture. Basically what he presses upon his class is the fact that not only is every writer different but every project is different. For instance, I’m a planner, as I’ve already said, and while last years Chapter outlines were very detailed and long, this year they’re much shorter. I didn’t specifically intend for this to happen, it just did, but it feels right.

Another way I like to plan my story, that’s perhaps a little bit more out of the box is through Pinterest. I find it helpful to be able to go onto my board and remind myself of what I’m trying to present visually.

The last thing that I try to do is put together some sort of playlist on iTunes that I’ll be able to write to. In 2014 I was writing a noir-style mystery, and so I listened to Rat Pack music. Last year was the year for the gritty thriller, and I found a Femme Fatale playlist on Spotify. This year my genre is fantasy, so my playlist is going to consist of lyric-less movie scores, I haven’t decided what just yet.


Go forth and write or begin to plan or maybe just think about it. The video I keep mentioning is HERE and it’s really helpful. Going forward I’d love to have some sort or writing group to work with, and I want to be much more vocal about NaNo both on the forums and away from the forums.

Do you like to write? Are you a planner or a pants-er?


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