This is something I wish I had learned to do earlier. It would have saved me a lot of time. I can’t count the number of times my manuscript has been completely rewritten. Instead of moving along to first, second, third … edits, I had to start over as I began to figure out what I wanted to happen in each scene.
At the time I figured this was all part of the writing process. My creative juices were flowing and magic was happening, albeit slowly. Nope. It was merely inexperience. That’s not to say that you’ll never rewrite a scene after you plot out your story, but hopefully you won’t be going back over the same things again and again. It also may have revealed the lack of overall storyline and the need for a more powerful subplot.
I’m still learning how to plot efficiently, but I’ll let you know my strategy so far. I set it up as an outline, with each scene as its own bullet-point. Then in sub-points I include details that must be included for the scene to have purpose and to move the story along. Then, in further sub-points I include dialogue if something snazzy comes to me while I’m working. It gives me a feel for how the scene may play out and what my characters should probably be feeling.
Once this is done I put my outline away for a few days. This gives me a break so that the next time I go back I have a fresh set of eyes and a somewhat detached perspective.