How I Plan my Novels (+FREE TEMPLATE)

Hi again everyone! Have you hit any major writing goals lately? Let me know in the comments below or on my socials!
Today I’m thrilled to be making public my ultra-secret (not really) novel planning template. Here’s a sneak peek at my latest novel plan using it:
Before I share the link, though, I need to confess three things:
I never used to be much of a planner. I felt like knowing precisely where my story is going sucked the fun out of writing it, and once I’d finished planning in huge detail the story felt “done” in my head, so I put it aside and moved onto something else. Not a great move.
As a writer, I used to be what’s variously called a “gardener”, or perhaps a “pantser”. I had my characters, knew roughly what I wanted to do with them, and then I’d just take off. Sometimes this worked. Mostly it didn’t. I, at least, need at least a little bit of structure to be able to see a story through to its end.
I will never be one of those people with a million notebooks painstakingly filled with beautiful notes and illustrations. I’m beyond envious of those kinds of people, but… never going to happen here. Sorry.
I do research as I go, when I need it, and I can’t draw to save my life. Also, my handwriting is so ugly.
Occasionally I do take notes, and I went through a phase I really enjoyed of making lots of collages (which I may have to go back to, thinking about it now. That was fun), but on the whole my notebooks stay undisturbed on my shelf and I do all my planning on my laptop.
These plans won’t work for everybody, and I wouldn’t want them to anyway. That’s the beauty of writing. Nobody has the same process. What works for one writer would render another writer incapable of ever producing another written word.
Moving on…
This template was born out of a sudden and inexplicable desire in me to actually, really plan a novel for the first time.
I looked through a lot of templates, but found that most of them were either designed to be printed out and scribbled on (did I mention the terrible handwriting?) or just way too complicated for my needs.
So I created this. It’s for you to mess around with, delete sheets and columns and rows, to edit and colour code and basically just go nuts with.
I’ve added in options for detailed and simple plans, for basic character sheets and more complex ones. I tend to use the simpler plans, but for a couple of novels I’ve gone through in huge detail, and actually quite enjoyed the process.
So have at it! Click around, see what’s what, have some fun. If you want to just play around, why not use one of my plot ideas and just go wild plotting a novel you never plan to actually write?
All I ask is that you don’t make edits and then upload it elsewhere and claim it as your own.
Sound fair?
Excellent. Let’s get started. Just click here to find the template on Google Drive or here to download it from!
I’d love to see what you come up with (and I promise not to steal any of your ideas!) so why not leave a comment and let me know what you’ve created with it? Or just drop me a message on my social media channels. I love hearing from you all.

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