Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sometimes all you need is a solid plan

So I'm doing this whole "novel in 90" thing which I've mentioned enough times for you to want to beat me with a stick. And I got a bit overwhelmed. There are some things I need to do before moving on to the next draft of this novel. But it all seemed overwhelming. I'm a bit of a weirdo because I outline before writing a rough draft but I don't do character sketches or tons of research (just bare basics) until the second draft. Because the first draft is where I figure out who my characters are as well as what it is exactly I need to find out. Basically I bullshit through the first draft and act like I know what I'm talking about.

Anyway I was a bit overwhelmed because there is always the danger of stalling out at this phase for me and not actually getting into the rewrite portion because I have to access a different part of my brain here.

Turns out...all I really needed was a deadline (which I already had) and a solid plan. So I took all the things I had to do and made specific lists. Exactly WHO do I need character sketches on? Place sketches (maps and descriptions)? What EXACT things do I need to research...list them. Then divide and conquer, reasonable chunks a day and micro-deadlines.

Now I'm back on track and not feeling so overwhelmed by it all. In fact in the overarching original deadline chart, I'm only going to be one day behind if I stick to this plan, which I'm sure I'll catch up at some point. It feels doable now.

Another thing I did today was start the rough draft of the next novel, which I'll be going at a slow and steady pace of 750 words a day on. Getting back into the creative space, I think is helpful to keep me in this whole "writer flow." Plus, by the time I finish revising this novel and send it out into the world, I've got the next thing to revise, I'm already on my way to the next thing.

I was a little hesitant about starting this next book. I know there are dangers to working on too many things at once. And yet I think working on one "rough draft" and one "edit/revising process" isn't overkill, because they are two fairly different processes. Some days i will have to write new scenes on the edit draft so I will likely not write new stuff on the rough draft on that day...I'm just going to play it by ear. But I figure if I ever get published I'm going to have to learn to switch gears like this to keep forward momentum and I think I can do it.

You never know until you push yourself.


spyscribbler said...

You never know until you push yourself.

So true! Interesting about the character sketches! And research ... I need to try that method with the research.

Zoe Winters said...

yeah, i used to do character sketches first, but i was mostly talking out of my ass. for me, once the characters start interacting, that's when I learn who they are. Then I can add more backstory to give them depth and let that inform the edits.

Edie said...

For my wip I didn't start writing until I did research because I thought I needed a timeline. Now I know I was procastinating because it's a bigger book than I was used to writing and I was plain scared.

Zoe Winters said...

Oh sometimes you might need research before hand, especially if you are unfamiliar in general with the world in which you're me though, prior research is overwhelming since I don't know what the hell i'm even looking for. :)