Sunday, 8 April 2012

Being An Author: Writing Your First Novel Part II

The Deamons Of Doubt: They call...

So you get half way through the first draft, say, 30K ish. You've planned nothing. Yeah, nothing. To date you've winged the whole thing. Then you sit down, sweating, tired, drained, and say to yourself, 'What the hell was I thinking?'

You don't know where to go...
The ending is in sight, but no, it's too close...
OMG. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO WRITE NEXT???

Simple I say - When Tolken wrote the Hobbit, he planned nothing* so I shall do the same. This is when you realise that all asunder is going wrong. The words dry up... the plot thins... the characters suddenly seem uninteresting. It's. All. Going. Wrong.

So we put down a plan. 

The Plan Will, No Must, Come Together


A man with a plan, you know,
that comes together

So what does a plan look like? It doesn't matter. I've got two. The first, and most practical is an excel spreadsheet, broken down into chapters, characters and actions. It keeps me organised and clean, and can be updated when I feel that I've missed something out. The second is a single peice of A4 on my desk with scribble on it. Most of it is practical scribble, maybe things I'll need to remember at the drop of a hat like what road a club is on, where the cemetary is, what my own name is (pro-tip for the drinker). Of course there is weird doodles as well, such as a tooled up hamster riding a giant spider (No. Not like that!). But it's all good... it all helps.

Now go! Go and make a plan!

There. You have the plan. I know that it took a couple of hours, but trust me, it's worth it.

Stick to the plan.
Unless you can't, or don't want to.

The doubts and confusion will now start to lift. Trust me. The plan is like a candle, flickering in the darkness, guiding you, making the monsters in the dark disappear... like bedsheets at night, impervious to the boogeyman.

'Til next time

Mark

*This is probably not true - I call it artistic lisense. (Or shut up! It's MY blog!)

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