Once you have your idea, what’s the next step? Now you need to develop the idea to a point where you can write it. This point is different for everyone, some people (called plotters) like to have the whole thing figured out before they start. Other people like to have the freedom to go wherever the writing takes them (called pantsers). Whichever of these you are I would encourage you to do some form of idea development. Here are some ideas of how to do that, there should be some that work for you. These are also good for when you get stuck while writing.
The first thing that I do when I am trying to figure out my plot is I think. I ask questions about what could happen, what the worst thing would be and what I could do to set up a really entertaining end scene. I think about my characters and their relationships with each other, I think about what they want and how they are going to grow. The more you think the more you know about your idea and the easier you will find your writing.
Pinterest is so great for writing. I have boards for all my stories because it helps me a lot to have characters and setting before me that I can see. It is also helpful to get the general feel of a book. (my board here). For some of my ideas I use the board for information I might need, photos of important objects in the plot, quotes, song lyrics. It is really versatile meaning you can do whatever you want.
Music is another thing that can be great as inspiration and everyone uses it differently. I know some people listen to music while writing, others listen to it while planning their books, some people use it to get into a scene that they are about to write. Some people have playlists for their characters, some have them for scenes, some have them for the whole book. Personally I use soundtracks from the lord of the rings movies because they perfectly fit the epic fantasy vibe I want. I also use a few video game soundtracks. Have a listen to some music and see what works for you.
Drawing maps is one of the best things I can do to work out my idea. A lot of the plot in my novels is conflict between nations or people trying to get places which is hard to fully figure out without seeing it in front of me. I have maps with different physical features like mountains and rivers and forests, I have maps with cities and roads, I have maps with climate areas. Maps are just so helpful. I would highly recommend you drawing a map. If you want me to do a post on how I make maps let me know.
When I am trying to figure out where my plot is going to go I write out my beginning, middle and end in bullet points, then I write paragraphs for each of these which leaves me with a nice summary of what is going to happen. This still allows the story to be unplanned enough for random things to pop up but it really helps me to figure out where I need to be when I get stuck. Sometimes I just have a really detailed beginning and a bare bones middle then no end because I don’t know what the end will be but having some idea of what comes next really helps me.
The last and most detailed way that I plan my ideas is to make a scene by scene list of what will happen. Sometimes this is for the whole book and sometimes it is only for the next little bit. Knowing exactly what has to happen next and being able to track different characters through the scenes is really helpful. Having a list of scenes can be helpful when you have multiple points of view and need to keep track of the emotional connections between scenes.
The Writing Process Series
Hopefully this has helped you plot your novel