Planning and drafting fiction

Home learning focus

Learn how planning and drafting can improve your fiction writing.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos to help you understand the importance of drafting and hear how different authors and poets begin writing

  • three activities


Watch this short clip to understand the need for planning and drafting when writing fiction.

Learn how practice makes perfect when polishing your prose.

Planning and drafting are processes that all writers go through and are much more than simply rewriting.

As you plan, gather as many ideas, for word choices and language features, as possible – even if you do not end up using them all. As you draft your writing, choose words that reflect the atmosphere and mood. Drafting also allows you to rethink the structure of your fiction writing.

The process of planning gives you the opportunity to select more precise vocabulary and shape your writing more effectively. For example, you could look for words to use that are atmospheric or exciting.

When planning you could look at verb choices in particular and consider what emotion you want to create. Consider the difference in the atmosphere of your writing, if instead of saying a character ‘walked’ in to a room, they ‘crept cautiously’ in to the room.

Watch the following clip to hear top tips for creating ideas for your fiction writing, from writers such as Philip Pullman and Michael Morpurgo.

When watching this clip, take notes on the information given by the writers. These tips will be useful for you when creating your own fiction writing.

Authors share their tips on the writing process.


Activity 1

Check your understanding. Have a go at the practise activity, considering the use of adjectives in Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing. Once you have done it, try to select more ambitious adjectives to replace some of the choices made.

Activity 2

Using the image below for inspiration, plan ideas or word choices for a piece of descriptive writing. Imagine you are planning the opening setting description for a narrative based on the image. You should try to plan ideas to fit in to the following categories:

  • adjectives
  • adverbs
  • verbs
  • personification
  • colours
  • similes
Look at the scene above and use the language features to describe what you can see.

Top tip!
You could try splitting the image in to four sections, then focus on creating ideas for each section of the image.
Try to make elements of the image come to life by using personification.

Looking at the water in the image, using personification you might write: ‘Sauntering past the trees, the peaceful water glanced at the surroundings’.

Activity 3

Improve your understanding by reading about the language features listed on this BBC Bitesize page about writing to describe. Create a revision poster to help you remember the language features listed on this page.

Top tips!

  • Use colours to make your work engaging.
  • Split your page in to sections and dedicate a section to each language feature.
  • Try to include the name of the feature, the meaning or definition of the feature and then create an example of the feature.

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt about techniques and tips to help you plan and draft your fiction writing.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you make your writing interesting and engaging.

There's more to learn

Bitesize Daily lessons
KS3 English
Malory Towers
11 - 14 English Language
Bitesize Support
Discover more writing tips