Whenever you start writing your story, you know you have to address the basic questions all readers ask when they pick up your novel. Who are the main characters? What events are going to take place? Where does your story take place? When do things happen? Why are these events occuring? How do these things happen? (There may be surprises revealed, but you do need to address the basics when you’re building a book’s description.) Answering those questions is simply another task you take on as an author.
Once you answer those questions it must be time to write, right?! WRONG!!
Obviously, you must have those facts figured out to write something worth reading, but those questions need to be addressed more than once and they aren’t questions that only touch on the outline of your story.
Let’s say you’re writing a novel about Jane Doe and you have built up the details about said character. (I always recommend using A Novel Idea by Shawn Svacha.) You have created Jane and for whatever reason she is terrified of spiders. Why is she afraid? When she was younger she woke up in the middle of the night to find a spider crawling on her face and that brought on her great fear. Of course, explaining the reasoning for her fear may never appear in your novel. But unless you are writing a strict, word by word, no changes allowed outline, you need to be prepared for the chance the question of why may appear. Writing down the details of this fear will only help you in those chance situations. Also, a reader may want to know more about these random facts. Always be prepared for an interested reader to ask any question.
For example, I love how J. K. Rowling appears to know her characters inside and out. She has mentioned several times about her characters pulling at her own emotions while she was writing. Just like her, you should build up a serious understanding and closeness with your characters and their stories.
All the facts which hold a deeper meaning may need further explanation while you are telling your story. Knowing this, it would be best for you to write down all the details to the facts so things won’t accidentally change in the middle of your tale. An author needs to be prepared for anything to happen while they write.
How far do you plan when you’re writing your story?