How Creative People Think ~ Planning

6 Feb

Being creative and artsy is often associated with being flighty, unorganized and just generally scatter brained. Sadly, for a lot of my creative kin this is true. Stereotype you win again. Darn it!

As I’ve sad before in this series, creative people see things differently, our brain process information in a different “format” if you will then say, someone with a mathematically inclined brain. ( kind of like Word for PC and Pages for MAC.) So, we tend to organize things internally (mind you this is a generalization there are exceptions) keeping scenes and general “flashes” in our heads.

We don’t tend to process things in a step by step procedure kind of way. “Planning” usually consist of getting a general idea and key scenes. We don’t sit down and painstakingly map out every occurrence and conversation. (Again for the most part)

This is our downfall.

It’s hard to find a balance between “pantsing it” and plotting for six months. Both of these will have you running into problems at one time or another.

So, how should you keep the scales from tipping?

First off figure out what kind of writer you are. Do you like the feeling of never knowing how it will end or does this make you get lost in a muddle? Or like me are you somewhere in-between?

The important thing to remember is:


I repeat:


The only “right way” is what works for you. Every writer and novel is different, and thus,  has to be written and planned differently.

Some people can just sit down and write with no idea of where there going. Now, I’m betting that isn’t you. But if it is, go on with your bad self and write like that.

Others have to know everything that is going to happen with their novel, and they make pie charts and everything else before writing. Again, chances are that is not you. Am I right?

So, like I said before we need to meet in the middle. My solution? Domino Planning.

(Feel free to EWWW and AHHH at what you’re about to hear, or BOOO if you feel that’s necessary) Domino Planning is my own special brand of plotting. I invented and developed it. So, it works for me exactly.

Here’s the gist of it:

I view all the things that happen in a book as points of intersection. (The main characters world collides with a call to action, a call to action runs into an obstacle, characters cross each others paths, etc.) Each intersection changes your course, alters your path, and generally changes the final outcome of when and where you end up.

Each “intersection” so to speak, is like a domino. Each falls into the other, changing the path.

These are the points I come up with first. Following the age old advice of Lewis Carroll I “Begin at the beginning and go on till I come to the end: then stop.” I plan the course of events that “effect change” and turn my character in a new direction. This, inevitably leads me to my ending. I’ll give you an example. (No I’m not going to do my current novels planning page. Ha-ha your crazy!)

Cheesy Example:

  1. Turtle is lonely and needs a friend
  2. A Mushroom comes into the turtles life and befriends him
  3. Turtle finds out the mushroom was going to kill him and make him into soup
  4. Turtle confronts mushroom.
  5. Mushroom cry’s and says she wasn’t going to go threw with it.
  6. They makeup and live happily ever after.

Granted, this is not a great example of literary genius, but you see what I mean. The mushroom coming into the turtle’s life and changes how he feels. Finding out she was going to turn him into turtle soup changed how their relationship was seen by the turtle. And so on, and so forth.

Now, this is what works for me. Finding what works for you is the important thing! I give you full permission to steal the domino method from me and use it in your writing, if that’s what you feel will help you though!

What methods do you all use in planning your novels/short stories?


3 Responses to “How Creative People Think ~ Planning”

  1. HaleyWhitehall February 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    When I get a novel idea I instantly jump to what the ending is going to be. It is best to write with the ending in mind. Once I have the beginning and the ending I fill in a beat sheet outline of all my scenes.

    • nkeda14 February 7, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

      Yeah you can’t exactly take the most direct route if you don’t know where you are going.


  1. Outlining in Short « Novel Ideas Life of a Teen Writer - May 31, 2011

    […] You can read the rest of that post with a corny example HERE. […]

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