Frequently Asked Questions

What is Story Planner?

Story Planner offers online templates, or ‘plans’, to help you structure and develop your story. Plans range from character questionnaires (to help you get to know your characters) to story outlines that provide a structure to an entire novel. They can be used for any fiction project, and we also have a category just for screenwriters.

To use a plan at Story Planner simply create an account and select the plan that interest you. Text prompts will ask you about your story, and from there you can add notes. You can save your plan and come back to it later, or export it as a document to print or use in a word processor. Your Story Plan can guide you as you write, or can simply be a way to store notes on your work in progress. And if you need some guidance, a step by step guide to using Story Planner can be found here.

Why plan using a template or system, isn’t it more creative to just write?

Some writers prefer to write without any planning, but others struggle to write 75,000 to 120,000 words without any sort of plan. Story Plans don’t make for formulaic stories, instead they help you define the key moments in your story and harness your creativity to create compelling scenes.

Think back to some of the great artists and how they worked. Renaissance painters painted a grid on their canvas to help structure their painting’s composition. Writing plans are a similar behind-the-scenes way to ensure your story works. No one ever accused Leonardo Da Vinci of lacking in creativity!

And if you don’t like using traditional story structures, we have some free plans to try, like the Tentpole Method and a simple Chapter Outline. You might also find other elements of Story Planner useful such as character questions or guidance on writing log lines and synopsis.

Can anyone else see my plans?

Your plans remain private and are only visible to you. The plans you write are stored securely on our server and we have no access to them.

Are my plans and ideas safe at your site?

We know writers are concerned about their ideas being stolen, that’s why we made the site private with plans only viewable by the writer who created the work. We also know what it’s like to lose work, so we regularly back up all the files stored at Story Planner.

Who will own the copyright of the work I create at Story Planner?

You own the copyright of all the work you create at Story Planner. No one can read your Story Plans at the Story Planner website.

How do I choose which plan to use?

The best way to choose a plan is to browse all the plans and try out a few. You have access to all the plans regardless of your level of membership. But if you want the ability to save and edit unlimited plans you will need to be a Story Planner Premium member. To learn more about the benefits of Premium membership click here.

I used my one free plan and want another, but I don’t want to lose the plan I have.

If you want unlimited access to Story Plans you will need to upgrade to Premium Membership. If you decide not to pay for Premium Membership the best way to switch to another plan is to export your current plan to PDF, text, or to a Word document then save it. When you have exported your plan you will need to delete your current plan and create a new Story Plan.

What’s the difference between Basic Story Planner membership and Premium membership?

A Basic Story Planner account lets you use one Story Plan, while a Premium Membership plan allows unlimited use of any Story Plans. You also get a neat display of all your project files in the ‘My Story Plan’ section of your account. This means that your novel might have plans for characters, a story outline, a log line, a synopsis and even a query letter ready to send - all kept neatly in the same place.

How much is Premium Story Planner membership?

It’s $15 for three months or $40 for a year (that’s $3.33 a month, less than a decent cup of coffee!)

What’s the best planning method?

Every writer finds a way that works for them. Some love 3 Act structure;, others swear by Syd Field’s Paradigm. The best way is to try a few methods until you get to one that feels ‘right’. The more you use the system the better you’ll get at planning great stories.

I have a favourite writing plan. Can you add it to Story Planner?

We love Story Plans, and particularly ones recommended by fellow writers. If your plan is a little different from our current plans, and the creator of the plan is happy for it to be on the site, then there’s a good chance we’ll add it. Email with your suggestions.

My Premium Membership is due to run out. What happens to my plans?

Don’t worry you won’t lose any work. Your account will switch to Basic Membership, which allows you to edit and use just one Story Plan. The last Story Plan used will be set as your fully functioning Story Plan, the rest won’t be available to edit, but they will be displayed in your account and you can export them to PDF, text, or as a Word document. If you renew your Premium Membership the plans will all be available again.

I have an idea for an improvement for Story Planner

We’re always looking for ideas to improve the site. Get in touch if you have any suggestions or feedback.

I have a question that’s not covered here

You can contact and we will be happy to help you.