Phase Planning

Recently I’ve started a new kind of planning for the current work in progress and I’m just having a blast with it so I wanted to share that with everyone!

I found it on the Pub Tips subreddit and had a read through the article it linked to (It’s Just a Phase by Lazette Gifford) and it seemed very similar to how I already work so I thought I’d give it a go.

Essentially, it a very detailed outline for whatever story you’re writing. You break down the story into ‘phases’ as a numbered list and each phase is a short summary of a particular scene, or part of a scene, and then when you come to write the story properly you expand on it with the view that you won’t have to worry about what comes next and umm and err about how to get to the next plot point.

Lazette Gifford’s first example in her article explode a phase of 28 words up to 222 words and one of her novels had a phase plan of 14,000 words which evolved into a 101,000 word novel.

This method won’t be for everyone, of course, but my previous way of writing that worked for me was very similar. I would usually write a line or two to evolve into part of a scene, in all caps, and then go through and delete them as I went along and wrote the prose.

But, I think the methodology and spirit of phase planning is different to how I was writing and making that shift has helped a bit. Whereas before I might have written a fight scene a bit tongue in cheek like this…

SQUARE UP TO EACH OTHER. THAT SWORD LOOKS SHARP. FIGHT STAB FIGHT STAB STAB

The phase planning (or at least how I’ve interpreted it) would stick more to the spirit of the prose and the feeling of the scene as well. I think this will help when I move into the prose section of the writing as when I come up against my notes like that it can be difficult to translate FIGHT STAB into something meaningful.

I’ve finished my own 14,000 phase plan of a book and although Lazette Gifford seems to be keen on the speed of writing this method gives her I think that it was really useful for me to be able to see how the story in all its facets unfolded and give me a chance to move things around.

So it’s something I think is worth looking into if you’re not sure what your process is yet, or if you find that you keep rejigging your work after you’ve started writing it!

I’ll report back once the novel’s done about how it went moving from phases to prose!

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