I've been carrying this book around with me for a week, reading it between classes, on the bus ride home, or during lunchtime and it has some pretty great information that I thought I'd share. Something that particularily interested me was the chapter on novel planning. The particular situation presented in the chapter has happened to so many of us that I'm starting to wonder how planners are able to write and stick so closely to their outlines without it getting messy. I wish that I could be a planner, but most of the time my planning is minimal at best. I go into writing a new piece with limited knowledge of three things: Characters, Plot, and Setting. Then I write and let the story fill in the extra details itself. The only time I really get into outlining is during the re-write or revisions when I find it to be the most useful. In the excerpt below if you see the word Me in paretheses then that's a thought I had while reading.
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Pages 82, 83, 84 (this is a really small book)
After months of preparation, Jennifer McCreedy had an absolutely clear vision of how her intricate fantasy novel would unfurl.
"I churned out character biographies, world maps, and language keys," says the twenty-year-old one-time NaNoWriMo winner from Detroit. "I had developing culture, societies, religions, hierarchical class stuctures--even regional clothing, genetic wuirks, weapons, and customs."
...Overplanning, [which] is deadly for three reasons:
1) If you give yourself too much time to plan, you might end up stumbling across a brillant concept foryour novel. And the last thing you want heading into your noveling month is a brillant concept. Every month. I get emails from people jubilanly informing me that they're dropping out of the contest because they've found a story they love, and they want to workon it slowly enough to do it justice.
When I check in with these people six months later, they've ineviable stopped working on thebook entirely. Why? Because they've become afraid of ruining thier book by actually writing it. ( Me: OMG this has happened to me more times than I can count -__-)
...Once you stumble across a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime idea for a book, it's hard to treat thestory with the irreverent disregard needed to transform it from a great idea into a workable rough draft. When you give yourself one week to flesh out your concept, you won't have time to feel overly protective of your ideas. And you will therefore stand a much better chance at briging them to life.
2) Past a certain point, novel planning just becomes another excuse to put off novel writing. (Me: So TRUE. Personally I once spent a year planning a book and I STILL haven't written it yet. I know just about everything that happens, even the color of my protagonist's favorite shoes which is blue.) Give yourself the gift of a pressure free novel, and just dive in after one week.
3) Pre-writing, especially if you're very good at it, bleeds some of the fun out of the noveling process. Nothing is more boring than spending an entire month simply inkng over a drawing you penciled out monts earlier. (Me: Also true. On the first day of nano once I had a story that I wrote a few pages for before but decided to scrap those and start anew. I ended up changing the book I was going to NaNo with the very next day because I couldn't take it anymore. And that book, which I had never written a word of before, turned out to be one of my favorite completed manuscripts.)
How do you plan for a novel? Have you ever encountered any of the problems like the ones listed above?