Plan Those Scenes

Most writers (maybe not most, but certainly many) cringe when they hear the words “PLAN” and “OUTLINE”.

“Writing is an art,” they’ll say. “Don’t limit your creativity!”

“We shan’t be bounded by the chains of capitalist planning!” The more Shakesperian ones will add.

Now, these are all valid arguments, but I’m one to think that knowing where you want to go with your story and how you will get there is effing important. 

Plus, it will save you a shi**load of time on re-writes.

Think of it this way: When you cross a road, you intend to reach the other side, usually by walking with your own two feet. And so it is with writing: You need to know where and how.

That’s why I use a basic scene planner. You can download my simple template below. This is not a work of my own, these sheets have been used for writers since I don’t know how long. You can also find a bunch of other scene planners online and make one that’s best for you.

If  you’re a WORD fan, click here to download: SCENE PLANNER FOR WORD

If you’re an EXCEL fan, click here to download: SCENE PLANNER FOR EXCEL

(By the way, I’ve included a nice little example in these files to help you out)

I think it’s valid to add that some people like to make a general outline, but I’m not one of them. First, because I have the basic ideas in my head, and second, because I’ll put them down in the scene planner anyway.  BUT if you are a big fan of general outlining, you can find some great stuff here.

Now get crackin’!

If you liked this post, please do share it and tell your friends!  Much obliged : )


6 thoughts on “Plan Those Scenes

  1. I love this post. I’m an excel guy, mostly because I can plan out a plot in order and then move the cells around to lay out the book. Also, it’s a little friendlier for my tastes to insert/rearrange chapters and other stuff. That being said, I do love the fact that you’ve got different resources here. Different minds, of course, have different ways of expressing themselves.

    Are you recommending this sort of thing for longer works of fiction (say, novella or novels), or are you also advocating to do planning for short fiction and flash fiction as well?

    • Hi Sirius,

      Glad you enjoyed the page!

      The scene planer is mostly for longer works. I’d say you could use it for novellas above 20k words. I wouldn’t recommend the scene planer for anything shorter than that and also not for Flash Fiction, because you really don’t need that level of detail for short works. In such cases, a general outline would be a nice starting point.


  2. Good post, and very true. I’ve always been a fan of fly-by-wire writing, but this probably explains why I’ve never got beyond the 20’000 word mark. I had a new idea for NaNoWriMo but it came to me 4 days before the event so obviously I’m floundering like a…I dunno, a flounder? I’ve a far from finished novel which is the only one where I constructed a form of chapter planner summarising current chapters. I’m tempted to pull that one back out.

    • Hey Chris, thanks for supporting the blog! 🙂

      You know, it took me almost a year to write a novel without outlining. Then I had a go at it, and ended up finishing a full novel in only three months, with a much higher word count. It’s like magic ; )

  3. Pingback: How I Write | C.S. Wilde

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