Last week I blogged about attending the ‘Dark Fantasy Writing Course’ taught by Kelley Armstrong. One of the most important things I learned throughout the course was planning before writing your novel.
Planning??? Well the concept wasn’t foreign to me, but really when you get an idea in your head you want to just ‘run with it’, don’t you?
When I first started writing I thought that was how all authors worked, because I didn’t know any better. Over the course of the past year I’ve learned that method is called ‘pantsing'(flying by the seat of your pants). I thought I could do it. And 75k later, I have an octopus.
Yeah, there’s a story, and there are characters. But, I look at it and wonder if I could have defined my characters better or plotted my story differently, and cut the filler and I know the answer is YES!
For the past two weeks I’ve spent plotting out all my markers. Any and all plot points where something happens of significance. And I’ve developed a character sheet, information from the course combined with my own ideas of what I want to know about my characters so I know them inside out.
So far I’ve been planning for two weeks. The same information for the same story I’ve already written, but this time with more detail. Fleshing out my characters so when I write them, they’ll come to life (at least I hope so). And, plotting enough to keep the story moving foward without ‘filler’. That’s the plan anyway.
But, I’m itching to get at it now. Not actually writing feels unproductive. I still have a few character outlines to do, and I’m anxious to get writing. Almost ready, but almost is not good enough. Not anymore!
If I want to do it right, I’ll finish my map, and then start. This time I’ll do it right.
Hopefully, armed with this knowledge and planning, this won’t be a ‘trunk’ novel, and it might just might be something good. It will definitely be better than my original draft.
BTW a ‘trunk’ novel is one of those novels that never gets published and gets locked away in your trunk…and really when you work that hard on something, you want it to see the light of day and not get locked away, never to be seen by anyone. Right?
So, as much as there’s a ton of planning involved, its all worth it in the long run. I now have a much better idea of where my story is going and how it ends, and I know my characters almost as well as people I know. And it is easier to write about what you know.
This week I’ll be ready to start writing again, and I’m excited to see what happens armed with my new found knowledge and map, plot points, character profiles and details and all my information organized. This is a whole new experience for me, but I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out from all of this. Should be interesting at the very least. Hopefully enlightening.
Happy writing fellow authors & writers! Enjoy your week & write great things.
Next week I’ll share my character development sheet. Maybe it will help others planning out their character profiles.