Is it necessary for a writer to know what plot the book is going to take in the future?

I'm writing a book and I'm stuck. I know what the book is going to be about and what the message is going to be. I'm curious, is it necessary for a writer to know what turn the novel is going to take? If the character is going to die (Not protagonist) and etc.

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Most Helpful Guys

  • Not necessarily. It would help in the long run, but the important thing is to not rush it. Every time you rush, it reads fairly obviously so. Some people can pop out a 'meh' novel in under a year, but some of the arguably best novels have taken many years to plan and publish.

    Whenever I'm stuck on story, I go straight to world-building instead. I keep a sort of glossary or even encyclopaedia (I think in the film industry they would call it a 'bible') that I can use as references for consistency. A lot of it contains in-progress or finished story themes, all marked appropriately.

    Of course, that really adds a shitload of time to development, but really it's what you're comfortable doing.

    Perhaps you could read novels, novellas, or play video games that are big on story or watch films for inspiration.

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  • Stephen King apparently managed to do his writing without an outline but in my opinion that's both the strength and weakness of his approach. The approach doesn't hold up as well when it scales to an epic novel spanning hundreds to thousands of pages in my opinion. I think he does his finest work with short stories where you can get away a bit more by winging it while keeping everything tidy and without losing focus.

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    • In general I think planning has that kind of advantage for all sorts of things, like you might be able to wing a cottage without a blueprint. It's another thing to try to build a cathedral let alone a skyscraper without one. With scale often comes the need for a bit more preconception and planning or else the whole thing risks becoming flimsy and falling apart rather than being very cohesive and stronger than the sum of its parts. But with smaller scale projects, you can often get away with a bit less planning.

Most Helpful Girls

  • No, I never know what I’m writing until I go back and read what I wrote. I personally hear the story in my head as I’m writing and just write it the way my characters tell me to. I never know how their story is going to turn out and I’m as surprised as the reader. Sure, I go back and edit stuff after, but what I write is just coming from the imaginary lips of my characters.

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    • I do it the same way and I thought I was doing something wrong. :D

    • Lol, nope! *high five, fellow writer* :)

  • A writer should have an idea how the story will unfold. They tend to constantly jot down ideas. Writers usually do a lot of in-depth research prior to writing a book. They have generally have an ideas of the beginning,
    middle and end of the story

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Have an opinion?

What Guys Said 30

  • You could take the approach of the guy who wrote a Song of Ice and Fire, in an interview he said he just killed character off based on who readers think is the main hero :) no motivation, idea or structured plot needed. A lazy and commercially successful approach

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  • You need an outline and it is helpful the more detailed it is. It can happen that u change it or that u get new or better ideas when u proceed the writing progress. It’s not important to know if or when some not important characters die

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  • No not at all, that's the best part as you write just to change things and roll with your thoughts and feelings seeing where it takes you. How I wrote so many books and it changed from what I thought at first into something so much more and better

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  • It certainly helps to have an overall idea of the story arch I should think and seems to be how professional writers do it they start with a story outline that they then follow
    I don't know that it is strictly necessary but I would say much easier not to get stuck that way and you end up with less internal inconsistencies to fix

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  • It would help with the story in general, but no you don't actually NEED to know what's gonna happen. You just need to make sure that the story makes sense and the narrative flows easily. You don't want to start off writing a crime thriller, and on your third chapter turn it into a romance novel for a while.

    Simples...

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  • Not at all.
    Writing is an open thing; there are generally to ways to write: the first is having knowledge of how the story will end. The second is when you write having no idea where the story will lead.
    I wrote one such story for my writing class, had no idea where it'd lead. I ended up pretty much submitting the rough draft and got an 83%.

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  • Well if you already know how it's going to happen then you can literally swap things around how ever you want as long as the story works and it makes sense but of you have to figure it out on the spot it might get a little confusing later on to throw in ideas at the last minute

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  • Probably the the end point but not necessarily the entire plot
    A good example would be george rr martin who wrote the books for game of thrones, i saw in an interview once that they way he write is almost like playing dnd he makes decisions to fit the character and lets their stories develop on their own as he keeps going

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  • Only vaguely, that's kinda important for the story to be coherent, or else you'll accidentally create countless plotholes. But aside from a vague direction, not really, and you'll probably make many changes while writing anyway.

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  • You should know a majority of the plot. The big moments, the growth of characters, etc. But always leave room for random inspiration, sometimes it can push you in the right direction and add a bit of flair to the story.

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  • It need to have an end goal but it can be vague untill the end.
    I tried typing a story in word for a week or so, got pretty far. I know how all three main stories end but the middle isn't to complete yet.

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  • Nahh just freeball it on a rough draft spitball ideas till something sticks I would say at least have an idea what direction you wanna take it but other than that go wild

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  • Is the plot necessary? Not really you can make it as you write it, the message though that I don't know

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  • Not necessarily. It all depends on the way the story unfolds in your head. If you got with a predetermined path to the story, you might miss out on a more interesting storyline.

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  • I think that would be ideal - otherwise you run the risk of writing yourself into a hole. The author may realize they want to change direction, but what's published is published.

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  • It's preferable if you have an Idea of what you want to go, But I'd say don't be afraid to deviate from it if you find that based on the story line you've built it's better to take a completely different rout

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  • You should at least have a general idea of where you want the story to go. You might change or adjust some things as it develops though.

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  • I think the writer should know ahead what the plot will take. As a writer myself, you should plan the book (s) ahead of time.

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  • Some authors have gotten by writing by the seat of their pants, but normally I would recommend having at least an overall layout.

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  • The more planning you have the better. Otherwise your plot will be messy and weird in a very bad sense. I would recommend you plan your plot out.

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What Girls Said 12

  • It sure helps if you know what you want the story to be about, otherwise you'll tend to write in circles.

    Before trying to write a book, write short stories to get a sense of how to tell a complete story.

    Many novels are built as a series of interwoven short stories.

    Also, read a lot.

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  • NO! All authors have different processes! I am also writing a novel and I like to go with the flow and mess with the story as i go! Its your work, do what you want to do! Your creative process is what makes it unique to you!

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  • Depending on the kind of story and how big it will become, i like to write short stories first with "different plots" so i can experiment with what appeals me most. before creating a really large story where I might not really be satisfied and rewrite the whole thing.

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  • It's completely normal to not have ideas at the moment or to not be able to find the right words to express yourself the way you want to. It's all normal. Great books sometimes take years to write, and it takes a lot of time and effort and energy. As long as you focus on being open for all sorts of events and ideas, and focus on being creative, you'll do good!

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  • Not necessarily. I think writing resources make much too big of a deal about plot planning and structure. Just write and if you're true to character, they will reveal themselves

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  • Depends on the writing... if you keep too many pathways closed off or finite then I would say yes... if you start to really let the characters personas dictate where the story is going, the possibilities are endless.

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  • As a successful wattpad writer my advice to you is to know at least the basic points. Give your story a beggining and an end, then find the inbetween while writing.

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  • I’m currently writing a book which I haven’t planned at all - I literally have no idea what’s going to happen next. Sometimes I think it’s good to let ideas just come to you.

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  • I don't think so. You might get to know your characters as you write their stories & you may want to change where they end-up.

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  • Not necessary, but helpful. You can always tweak it.

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  • It you have a idea how it turn out it is fine

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  • Nope

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