John Wilkerson, sci-fi author, journalist, and ghostwriter, is a bit of a plotter and a bit of a pantser. However, he prefers the term “dungeon crawler.” Before starting a novel, he outlines the first three or four chapters, so that he knows where the story is going. His plotting device, however, is taken straight out of role-playing games: he plots out the story by location. In those locations, he decides who’s going to live, who’s going to die, and what generally happens. But he plots out very few details before a story is done because he’s sure that a character will change it before he arrives at those details. Even though Wilkerson has a very specific way of writing, he doesn’t recommend it for everyone. “When it comes down to the point, we’re all creative in our own way. Do whatever works for you,” he says. Listen to Wilkerson in the clip below as he explains his planning process and gives authors tips on how to discover their own processes.
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