writeafirstnovel

follow a rookie writing his first novel

To Plan or not to Plan…

So this week I’ve been looking at planning out the novel…..or not. From the books I’ve read so far it seems a pretty even split between those authors who do extensive planning prior to actually writing and those who do very little on the grounds that it might stifle their creative input.

I sort of see what the non planning camp is getting at; We might start out with a perfectly sound plan, but while writing it may become apparent that a particular character wouldn’t really do what we planned, however if we have planned something we tend to stick with it and end up with unrealistic character action.

My take is that I will plan; but if the plan becomes unrealistic I’ll adjust it. I have a project management background so using plans as a ‘living document’ (don’t you just hate jargon like that) is second nature. My worry is that without a plan – and in particular an ending that makes sense and is satisfying, the whole thing will just meander around or peter out.

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So, I planned it out and have 18 steps to the novel. I wrote a couple of steps up and they averaged out to around 1500 words each – that’s a problem, because 18 x 1500= 27,000 and I need at least 80,000 words. I’m not going to worry about this yet, but it does indicate that I might need more sub plots, or fill out some of the characters. Apparently it isn’t too uncommon a problem but I would love to hear from anyone who has faced this and what they did when they got there.

I also read the book ‘The Novel Writer’s Toolkit’ by Caroline Taggart this week. The parts on writing the novel are pretty much the same as I’ve read before but the section written by agents and publishers was most useful. In addition, there are sections on actual publishers and agents with fabulous information on what they each are looking for, how they like work submitted etc – the book is worth its modest price just for that alone.

I’d also like to hear from anyone who has used an iPad in conjunction with Evernote and/or Scrivener, when their main computer isn’t a Mac but a PC – are the documents accessible from both platforms?

 

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