Do you elaborately plan out your story, or just make it up as you go?

I’m curious to know how everyone else writes and if they know what they’re about to start writing or if they think about it as they write.
There are times when I think about it before I take out my computer and others when I just make it up as I go, but I feel like it usually works out best when you have a plan. What do you do?

  • Make it up as I go
  • Plan it in my head while writing it
  • Plan beforehand or even write it down

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One thing I’ve realized is that I write a lot faster when I know where I’m going with it.

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Outlining stories often lead to higher quality content in my experience, it lets you have a greater degree of control over the elements of your story that make it engaging to read. :+1:

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I usually come up with an idea and write down somewhere a plot outline of the story. So that I know where the story’s going to go and what events need to happen. :woman_shrugging:

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yeah I agree it usually gives a better outcome.

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I come up with an idea, and start perfecting it. I do the characters, default outfits, speech bubbles, then title. Once I figure out the title, I choose the genre and start writing. As I get into it, I write more as the storyline becomes a lot clearer.

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Yeah, I try to come up with characters first and work off there because once I have the characters im excited to write about it, but it’s still a work in progress from there. I wish I planned it out more and write stuff down but I get lazy. I’ll have some really good ideas but forget about them which is frustrating.

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Exactly. At the moment, I have a good drama story, with all my characters, but I haven’t actively started working on it. I should try writing it down sometime :confused:

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Highly recommend giving yourself the gift of starting an outline and working out the kinks of your story beforehand. For me, it helps smooth out pacing, shows me what works and what doesn’t, and since I’m doing the prep-work, I can place foreshadowing and all kinds of stuff early on in the story.

I’ve sung her praises many times, but KM Weiland has excellent articles about outlining and story structure.

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Thanks! I’m checking it out.

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I normally create an outline and then write, but even as I’m writing, I will still do some planning.

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Yeah, That’s what I usually do. I’ll just be thinking about it at the most random times, but I also don’t have every line made up.

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All methods are valid and it depends which one works for you.
Stephen King writes in the “make it up as you go” style.
The difference is that on Episode, we release our content as we go. Published authors go through several rewrites/drafts before they release their work to the public, so no one ever sees the first draft, full of pointless scenes and plot holes. That’s (usually) gone by the finished product.

On Episode, unless you plan to write the whole thing before you release it and then go over it several times, I would highly suggest planning at least the basics before you start.
Plan the beginning, middle point and end, the goal of the story (what do you want the character(s) to achieve by the end of the story?) and the major plot twists.

There’s honestly nothing more boring than a story that doesn’t know where it’s going. I usually click out of stories if I can’t see what the author’s goal is by the end of the second episode (the characters don’t need to know where they’re headed, but the story needs to feel like it has direction).

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So do you usually continue with a story that interests you and you want to know more, or do you like being able to predict the plot?
It’s funny because I love some of the stories I read and I try to predict what’s gonna happen, but I just think to myself, If only the people who read my story know that I myself have no clue where it’s going. :joy:

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When I say I want to know what the story goal is, I mean it very generally. I don’t want to be able to predict every turn the story will take, that would just be boring!
But goals are important because they go hand in hand with a conflict. If you introduce the main conflict, then you’re introducing the main goal along with it.

For example:
Your MC falls for a LI. They want to be together but something is stopping them (conflict). We now know that the goal of the story is for them to get together. We don’t know how this will happen, or if they’ll succeed. (Romance)

Your MC is a detective. There’s a gruesome murder, and they need to solve it but they don’t know where to start (conflict). We now know the goal of the story is to solve the murder. We don’t know how they will solve it, who did it or even if the MC will live or die. (Murder mystery)

Your MC is a princess. Her kingdom is under threat and she must protect it (conflict). We now know the goal of the story is for her to protect her kingdom. We don’t know how she will do it, if she’ll succeed, or what kind of adventures she’ll have along the way. (Fantasy)

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Yes, I see where you’re going. I think you’ve made a good point and that I’ll think more about it when I’m writing. It’s all kinda like a domino effect that you have to plan out.

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If anything, it’s great for yourself as a writer, because usually writers block occurs because you’ve written yourself into a corner and have no idea what’s going to happen next :joy:
If you know where you’re going before you start, the chances of getting writers block drastically decreases (I haven’t had writers block once since I started planning out my stories! I have had “I can’t be bothered” days though… :smirk: )

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That’s pretty smart. Thank you!

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I have the beginning and ending with a few details in mind, but overall, everything I write is just go as I write.

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I feel slightly different about outlining, but I think you really nailed the core difference between no-planning Episode writing and Stephen King-esque literature writing. If you release a book after working out its problems, then nobody cares how you start or what habits you have during the drafting stage. If it works for you, it works - no shame; it’s just good to be aware of what problems Pantsing can cause if you then try to apply it to Episode writing.

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Absolutely. There’s no one way that works for all authors, and trying to force yourself to adhere to another author’s style is the best way to never get your story written. I’m a snowflaker, but I have a friend who writes SOTP. Works her her. I get writers block if I try.

But that said, Episode stories definitely need a bit more planning beforehand (even just in your head) than the average novel, because if you write yourself into a hole you can’t get out of, there’s no going back :joy:

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