Sunday, December 11, 2011


I'm feeling a little dull today, so "Sunday" is the best I can do just now for a title.  I've been sitting here poking at it for way too long, and I should just write a check-in and move on.

As dull as tarnished silver

So, about that ROW80 check-in.  I did some writing this week, so that's really good.  Usually by this point in the post-NaNo scheme of things I've stalled out.  This week, I still wrote on my story.  But I also had to admit something to myself. 

I have read and studied lots about novel planning, outlining, writing in general.  I have never actually gone all the way through any of the systems.  I always decide at the last minute that I really need to get on that planning for NaNo, so then I skim my way through some plotting book or an article or two, and then I do the bare bones minimum before I run out of time. 

Why is this especially important right now?  Because while I was doing NaNo this year I was making a point to examine my writing style.  And I found that the days my writing really flew, the words flowing fast and the phrases coming easily, were the days when I had a good plan for the scene at hand.  The times when all I had was a vague notion--"J goes to T's family home with him"--were slow and clunky. They were much harder to write and really not terribly fun.

I never planned out every single detail of a scene, but the ones that went well had notes about things that I wanted to have happen in them and a general order of what would happen when.  So clearly I need to spend more time on my planning because that's what works for me.

Add to all of this the book I'm reading, K.M. Weiland's Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success. She recommends spending a couple of months really working on the outline before you write.  And I can see the sense of this. I clearly do better work when I have a plan.  So what's the problem?

I'm not able or willing to let go of actually working on the writing.  I said I would do 65,000 words by December 22.  I planned to have the first draft finished by the end of the month.  If I turn to just planning now, I won't reach those goals.  Also, I'm worried about stopping the writing.  What if I work on the planning then can't get back into the writing?  What if stopping to work on planning stops me completely?

I'm thinking of compromising, doing some writing, then a little planning, then more writing, and so on.  But is this my best choice?  I don't know.  I also know that I'm very tired today and getting more tired by the moment, so I may need to save this decision for tomorrow. For now, I'm going to wrap this up, hope it isn't too incoherent, and drag myself to bed.


Live, Love, Laugh, Write! said...

Sounds like a little planning, then a little writing, would be the best order of business for now. Maybe just try to always have the next scene or two planned out, but write at least one of them a day (or every day you'd normal write)?

Komal said...

Hey Kim! I have to agree with you about the outlining. I find that a fumble around a lot if I don't have a clear plan for a chapter.

When I have a list of main points I want to cover in a chapter, I find that I am generally more focused and eager to write more.

Outlining is actually what's been helping me consistently churn out around 6000 words a week.

Hope you have a great week!

Liz said...

Interesting idea. Plan some, write some. I usually have a vague outline in my head, then I start writing. On a later pass, there's a lot to straighten out, but the first pass goes very quickly.

Anonymous said...

Write the draft now. Once of the BEST ways to edit is to outline your 1st draft after it's written. It will show you the weaknesses and strengths, not to mention gaps and lulls.

Em said...

I definately need to read some writing craft books....I often feel I am stumbling around in the dark!

Glad to hear you haven't stalled out after NaNo...I have so big congratulations to you!

Have a great week!

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