Nanowrimo has started and quite frankly I have not got off to a good start. I could say that work and its various deadlines have got in the way but that would just be making excuses. I didn’t plan this whole thing very well really.
Note to self, sort yourself out.
Anyway this post is not about my lack of organisational skills, rather, it’s about the pros of planning your story. Of course it very much depends on the writer. There are those who are literally able to put pen to paper, fingertips to keyboard and voila! they have a novel. Not one ounce of preparation. They just let the story come. Me, myself, I don’t know anyone like this but apparently they’re out there. Word to the wise, those people are amongst the very few.
I’ve read plenty of manuscripts and quite often it is abundantly clear the author didn’t plan their story. To be honest I’m not really sure they got beyond the basic hook of their idea. Even if it’s just a page of bullets, it’s amazing how helpful that can be in shaping your novel. So ask your self:
What’s the main idea
What’s the major conflict – this could be something physical or mental/emotional.
How is the problem solved.
If you want to go further, delve into the nuances of that main conflict. Who or where does it come from? How does it get worse? Will there be a moment of doubt – when you think is all hope is lost? When do things take a turn for the better? etcetera etcetera…
There are a host of questions which could be asked, each suitable for different kinds of plot. But the idea of a plan is that it just makes the whole writing process a little easier, manageable and less daunting really.
There are obviously going to be those moments when you think you’ve come up with a brilliant idea and you just want to get it out on paper. It’s always worth, however, taking a step back and making sure you have all the pieces together because there’s nothing more annoying than starting a project only to realise your missing a major component.
So yes plan, plan till you can plan no more, say I. With this in mind I’m going to heed my advice and hope to high heaven my oh so amaaaaazing idea actually has some substance to it. Oh dear…