62 Questions for Novel Planning


I’ve been collecting these questions over a long period of time. My teachers have given us these as exercises while in class on many occasions and I’ve written them all down on one big document to share with you now.

Planning isn’t always for everyone; and even as a planner myself, sometimes it can feel daunting, the amount of work that goes into novel planning. Sometimes you can’t work out where to begin. These questions cover a range of things, and although they don’t cover everything, they will give you a place to start. And actually when I first heard them, they gave me new things to think about that I had never thought of before. I hope you guys find these useful.



  • What are two problems in the main character’s life?
  • How do these problems affect others?
  • What is the main antagonist?
  • What is the main antagonist’s goal, values and motivations?
  • How will the antagonist attack the main character’s weaknesses?
  • How will the antagonist stand between the main character and what they want?
  • How will the minor characters affect/oppose the main character?
  • How will minor characters oppose each other?
  • What is the main character doing to obtain their goal?
  • How do we frustrate the reader by making these goals harder to obtain?
  • What does the main character actually need?
  • What lie does the main character believe, that is keeping them from what they need? Prompting them to believe they must get what they want?
  • What truth must they discover?
  • What weakness or flaw is central to main character’s life as a result of the lie?
  • How are others being hurt or affected by the flaw?
  • How will they have changed by the middle of the story?
  • What scenes will demonstrate how they’ve evolved? Also how they’re still flawed?
  • What is main characters big revelation in the climax (work out what they need?)
  • What archetypal roles need to be brought in as minors?
  • How does main character behave with authority figures?
  • How will they behave with love interests?
  • How would they behave at work?
  • How would they behave if being attacked?
  • How would they relax?
  • What would be the worst 10 things that could happen to the main character?
  • What are 5 unexpected situations the main character will be in whilst trying to obtain their goal?
  • What key events get your character engaged with the inciting incident?
  • How does this influence the story to follow?
  • How does this event create conflict between characters?
  • How does the inciting event grab the readers attention?
  • What events in the characters past, lead up to the key event?
  • What has shaped the main character to think and react the way they do?
  • What unresolved issues can further complicate the events after the incident?
  • How do minors view the main character?
  • Who do the characters live with?
  • Who do they fight with?
  • Who would they like to spend more time with?
  • Who do they actually spend time with?
  • Who do they most admire?
  • What are their religious views?
  • What is their overall outlook on life?
  • Do they like themselves?
  • What would they change?
  • Are they lying to themselves?
  • Where is their morality?
  • What is their confidence level?
  • What five words would they describe themselves with?
  • What five words would others use?
  • What are three traits the character would like to be known for?
  • What is their self awareness like?
  • What is their greatest joy?
  • What is their greatest pain?
  • What audience are you writing for? (Age, gender, ethnicity, beliefs)
  • What feel and tone do you want to present in the prose?
  • Will it be fast paced or leisurely?
  • Will you write in past tense or present?
  • What is your perfect novel?
  • What elements grab you most from your favourite novel? (action, romance, humour, plot twists, sad endings etc?)
  • Which characters will be narrators?
  • Which POV will you write in?
  • What is your hook?
  • What will immediately grab your reader?




Happy Writing 🙂


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