Honestly, I don’t think it should be a lot of the entire book. Mostly I plan out the plot and what has to happen to push it forward. And worldbuilding details when it comes to me. And also the rough personality of the characters and their role.
I normally keep my options open, and more often than not my stories never go the way I really plan it. Even though it’s still good to have a plan, to see what must be done. And I do tend to make a new plan every few months or so depending on which stage am I in the novel itself.
Guess, I’m right smack in the middle of being a plotter and panster. My planning tends to be nothing more than a roadmap, where I have a rough idea in mind, some planning but just many routes before I reach the destination itself. And sometimes the ending I envision might also not be the ending itself.
I used to never plan anything at all, and it would really go downhill after a while. Since I either get really bored at the characters, and how they behave. Or the plot itself doesn’t have enough beats, and it might feel underwhelming itself. So, planning helps me to set the mood, the tone and the plot beforehand.
But detail wise, I would normally not focus on it, except for some basic concept. Before I start to get more specific and some times I get ideas and jot them down somewhere way before it gets useful.
For me, a spreadsheet wouldn’t do me good. My most well worked plan would be putting down all my ideas and forming a chronological order with them, and it can be moved around depending on coherency or logic.
And thus I tend to be more or less the type who plans somewhat, like a small preparation before I dive into the novel letting myself write as I go and mostly straightening out most of the details and having it all come together.
I can’t write a full plot and plan without actually seeing some work before I do a little more detailed planning. Nor can I write with almost nothing but the premise. So, ultimately, I guess somewhere in the middle works best for me.
So, what about you? How far do you think a novel should be planned before the actual writing commences? Please leave your input below as I would love to hear from you.