My Plan to Complete the First Draft of my WIP

The new year has come and it’s time to set a plan to complete the first draft of my WIP! Every ounce of my being is a planner/plotter. I envy those people who can sit down at a blank page and manifest a story, writing sentence after sentence, chapter after chapter, having made no prior outline. I once asked one of my best friends, a fellow writer, about the way she prepares before she sits down to write. And her answer? That the story just “comes to her.” Well, some of us are not as lucky, haha, but that’s ok! Whatever gets the words on the page in the end, right? 

So, the story I’m currently working on has gone through multiple iterations of worldbuilding over the past couple of years, since I first caught a glimpse of the plot in my mind. When I attempted to participate in NaNoWriMo in November of 2023, I found that not only did I need to plot out more of my story before attempting to write it, but that my magic system was lacking. It had internal consistency issues, I hadn’t yet made important decisions about it that were necessary to the plot, and to top it all off, I wasn’t completely in love with the abilities. Magic systems don’t have to have any kind of special meaning to them, but I really wanted that for mine. I spent the rest of the year brainstorming and toying with my magic system, and I’m happy to say that as of now, it is pretty solidified. I can move forward with worldbuilding and plotting pretty smoothly. 

Another huge reason why I took so much time to sort out my magic system is because there are not one, but three different kinds of magic in this universe. I plan on making this story into a series of three books, so it’s important that I sort out worldbuilding issues now, instead of later, when they might pose problems. I have a general idea for the character arcs of my MCs, and a sense of the story arc over the course of the three books, which is enough of a foundation to get started on a detailed plot for the first book. More ideas for the second and third books will arise as I go, I’m sure (as they already have). 

I’d like to have a working draft completed by the middle of the year, so the deadline I’ve set for myself is: August 1, 2024. I am a plotter, so I need to have a completed outline before I can start writing. I’m going to give myself three out of the six months for outlining, so by April 1, 2024, I will have a completed outline.

My preferred plot structure for outlining is the one described in Saves the Cat! Writes a Novel, by Jessica Brody. I have broken down that outline into the recommended amount of scenes per section based on the length of the story. Going by genre publishing standards, for a debut fantasy novel (the first in a series), the word count should be around 80,000-100,000 words. I will detail in a later blog point about how I make Saves the Cat! work for me.  

The plan is set in stone:

Complete the outline of the first book by April 1, 2024.

I’m giving myself more time to outline Act II. This is because it is both the longest section of the book, as well as the most plot-heavy in regards to weaving story threads, so I anticipate I will need more time to complete it. 

Then, complete the first draft of the first book by August 1, 2024.

I won’t make any further details for the drafting phase until I have completed the outlining phase.

But that’s it! That’s the plan. August seems a long way from now, but, as time often does, I’m sure it will sneak up on me. Having a plan – a goal – set in front of me always helps me feel more capable of attaining it.

Now… let’s get outlining!

Happy writing!

📜 ~Fen