Roger Wolfson on The Importance of Preparation Before Writing Anything

I was having a chat with the brilliant writer Roger Wolfson last year and the topic turned to some of his biggest frustrations amongst other writers. Roger is an expert in his field, he has written for TV shows, important individuals, businesses, law forms and for publications like the Huffington Post. Roger has also used his skill to help others and there is one or two things which often frustrates him, chief among them is writers not planning before they put pen to paper.

The reason why so many skip this step and instead go straight to writing is because of a lack of knowledge in some cases but also a great deal of eagerness in others. This stage however is crucial and here is exactly why.


Most great writers will use this time to research, to add believability to what they are writing by ensuring that the themes and the facts which they are discussing are accurate. A crime novel needs to be written by someone with a solid grasp of the inner workings of law and order for example, which is why crime writer will do plenty of research before putting pen to paper.


The reason why the piece should be planned is so that it can be given real structure which in turn helps the story to flow. When a piece of written work doesn’t have proper structure the flow of the story isn’t right, the chronology gets all messed up and ultimately the story just doesn’t have the same cadence. This is the difference between someone who is able to write, and someone who is able to tell a story, that flow is vital to engaging the reader and inspiring them to keep going.


Whilst you can always tweak characters and change them throughout the story, it is in this early stage where you will have the chance to really develop these characters, looking into who they are, where they have come from, why they are in the story and what their motivation is. Spending a lot of time on the characters will absolutely ensure that they are deep individuals who are believable and who will drive the story. This is a key point here, the characters drive the plot line, the plot does not drive the characters. The better the character, the better the story.

Mental Preparation

If you don’t get prepped well beforehand you end up diving in and then having a stop/start journey as you try to figure out what you are doing and where you are going. If however you are able to spend some time ahead of commencing your writing work, you will be able to put yourself in a far healthier and better planned place which will lend itself perfectly to some high quality writing and a mentality which will allow you to easily get stuck in to the story.

This time before you begin writing is vitally important to what you are going to produce.