Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Friday, June 1, 2012


I'm setting myself a bit of a challenge as a writer at the moment: to plot/plan my new work only, with no scripting or writing permitted, for two months.

In my early 20s, I worked very hard on what I intended to be my first novel. But in 2004, at around the 20,000 mark, I hit fatal plot flaws and had to abandon all the work I'd done on it. The failure of that novel attempt really shook me up. Since then, I've barely written more than a couple of thousand words on any project, and that rarely. I'd say that in the past 6 years my output of genuine novel composition would barely top 10,000 words.

Initially, I went into planning overdrive. I was so fixated on not getting part way through then falling down that I refused to let myself write without having every itty bitty detail sorted out. So I spent countless hours fidgeting with character profiles and defining currencies and making maps and generally avoiding doing the actual writing bit.

Then, I got frustrated with myself for never writing anything, forbade any further procrastination, and forced myself to just write.

This went about as well as you might expect... my characters rocketed through their (well-imagined) starting scenarios then drifted aimlessly as I had no clear idea of how to get them from there to the intended finishing point. I've always been good at starting scenarios, but fine-detail plotting is more of a challenge. Without it, I was sunk. Repeatedly.

So I've decided to try giving myself a timeline and boundaries. Between now and the end of my honeymoon, writing is prohibited, but I have to spend a bit of time planning every single day. Any and all planning is allowed, including obsessive world-building, but by the end of those two months I have to have a workable chapter and scene list.

At the end of those two months, I have one month to write as fast as I can. The planning should be done and I will have 4 weeks of school holidays in which to pour out something resembling the first few chapters of a YA fantasy novel.

When school goes back I don't know what will happen, but hopefully I will have developed good planning and writing habits that will allow me to keep going at a gentler pace.

The honeymoon is a good marker for all of this, as I'm going on my first ever cruise and seeing 5 new cities in 3 new countries, so I'll head into the writing stage full of new inspiration and atmosphere. Seeing bits of France and Spain for the first time (and Guernsey!) can't help but fuel creativity, right?


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