Our Patreon Hamster Christie asked a really good question. When you’re new to planning your novel instead of pantsing it, how do you even get yourself started on the planning path?
Simple. Start with the Villain.
This might go against everything you’ve ever read anywhere. Doesn’t everyone always start with the Hero? Sure. You can start with the Hero (I did for many years), but unless you know the Villain’s history and motivations, your conflict will be weak.
You need to have a good reason for the Villain to want to do villainy long before the Hero is even aware of the Villain. Maybe even before the Hero was born.
So start by writing out the Villain’s story. Just a few pages. How did the Villain become a Villain? Not born a Villain, surely? What happened? What forced the decision?
Guess what. This is the same decision your Hero will face in Act 9, only your Hero will decide to go “the good” path vs. the Villain’s “bad path.”