Preparing to write a novel can sometimes take almost as much time as writing the first draft.
In addition to doing research for the book he's writing a novelist must plan the plot, flesh out the characters, and surround himself in the location of the book. The more immersed a writer is in his setting, characters and action, the more realistic his story will be. The more realistic his story, the greater the enjoyment for the reader.
So, how does the novelist tackle her pre-writing chores?
1. She researches the time period in which the novel is set.
2. He knows the location where the novel is set.
3. He understands EVERYTHING about the characters in the novel, minor characters as well as major ones. He knows details which may never be revealed to readers. The better a writer understands the characters in his novel, the more realistically the characters will react to their challenges.
4. She plans her plot from start to finish, then she follows her plan. A professional writer will not become sidetracked from her novel's plan, but she will add enhancements to her plot as she writes and rewrites her story.
5. The plot plan method a writer uses is strictly up to him. An outline works better than a storyboard for some writers. Others like to use chapter summaries. Some writers summarize or outline scenes and group them into chapters. Whatever method works best for the individual writer is what he should use since his comfort level with his method will enable him to be more productive.
Pre-writing can save time and cut down on frustration levels as a writer works on her book. I highly recommend the ultimate in organization of plot and characters before a novelist begins to write her story.
Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author