Planning with Jei: Setting up a Novel planner
I cannot believe Camp Nanowrimo is almost here….AGAIN! This year I don’t plan to do the actual drafting of my novel for the month of April but something I should’ve probably done a long time ago. Plot my novel.
I have never had an actual plot or novel drafted. I’ve had Act boards and a loose sheet of paper with some chicken scratch ideas of what I wanted to do with my story. I’ve never actively plotted my novel out and maybe that is why I always get stuck. I write and write and write and as soon as I get to the mid way point, I freeze. I become unable to move from the point I’ve written up to….
Creating this Novel planner will be a way to flesh out my ideas, plot the story out and have a concrete document of what I want to write. I’ve seen hundreds of iterations around on pinterest and etsy, varying from complexity to ideologies.
I dont think I’ll go with one set method but for now I am planning to use Heart Breathings Plot Your Novel, Series Bible Checklist and Plan and Write Your Series workbooks to get my Novel planner started.
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Mini Novel Planner DIY
Before I began to set up one of my Happy Notes to be my Novel planner/series bible, I took a quick trip to Michaels. I really really wanted to see if I could cop the Deluxe covers since they have been discontinued from HP website but sometimes pop up in Michaels during their sales times. Needless to say, I didnt find one BUT they did have the Recollections Binders on sale for about 3.99! The Binder is a little bigger than the Happy planner which is perfect because I can just slide the back cover into the little pocket it brings on the right side. The only challenge would be to remove the binder clips in the middle.
I grabbed two of the Binders in black and was on my way.
When I made it home, the DIY began (lol). I pulled out the binder clips from the middle, careful enough to not do too much damage to the Binder. I put those aside for a future project and went on to decorating the cover of the one that was to be my Novel Planner. I added some cute writer stickers on the cover, a few of my own magic themed stickers and a quote sticker from the Happy Planner Quotes sticker book.
On the inside, I placed two loose sticker sheets in the back pocket, an index card with words that are important to the story and their definition and a block of post-it notes for easy access.
Novel Planner Set Up
I added the Series Checklist pages to be the first couple of pages in the planner and then segmented the Happy Notes into four sections.
First Section is the Brain Dump section. Like all Brain dump spreads, it will be where I jot down random ideas for scenes, world building or plot points. A place where I can jot down quick questions about the world/character that I can go back to later and answer.
Next is the Novel Planning section. It’s where the Plan and Write Your Series workbook will live. I will fill out the questions on each page and formulate how many books I want in this new story. It will be where I have more concrete ideas of the world and how each book (if there is more than one) connects to the other. This segment will be where I jot down an overview of each book.
Moving on to the Character Profile section. This section will hold everything that relates to my characters. I have the Plot Your Novel workbook pages for each major character in this section as well as the The Character Inner Journey pages for any side characters. It’s also where I will add extra information about the characters, not limiting to Backstory, hobbies, and habits. Like Sarra Cannon, each character for the book will have their own associated color and I will separate each portion of this section into their colors. That way I can find a character profile easily.
Last is the Sheets section. This section is really just for holding any extra workbook sheets or dotted sheets to add into the other sections when the time comes.
What’s in the pouch?
In the pencil case for this Novel Planner I have in each color that relates to the character:
- Papermate Inkjoy pens
- Tanmit fine tip pen/brushes
- Bic White Out Dispenser
- TOMBOW Doublesided tape dispenser
- Stabilo Point 88 in Fine 0.4
- Yellow, Cyan and Purple mini post it notes
- Large Paper Clip (for index cards)
Things to Come
So far the idea I have is meant for only one book but with the amount of players I’m thinking of so far, could be divided up into a series. If it comes down to that, I’m thinking I might have to expand the current Happy Notes planner I’m using with bigger discs and have a dedicated section for each book. Sarra Cannon does this in her planner, using Laminated Book Covers as the divider for each book she is working on.
However, I dont mind creating a planner for each individual book I might have in the series and having the Novel Planner be an overview documentation of the entire series. I haven’t decided yet on what exactly I want to do.
See my other planning with jei posts: Here
Are you participating in Camp NanoWrimo? How do you plot/plan your novel? Let me know in the comments below!