Lessons I have learnt about writing novels - Planning
|I feel vaguely human again today - or at least vaguely fish. Certainly animal as opposed to vegetable. And I was going to write about planning...|
When it comes to any creative project you can name, there are some of us who plan meticulously so that everything is perfect first time and there are those that rush in and spend the time perfecting things later on. Both methods have their merits and their pitfalls. Sometimes it is necessary to do a little bit of forward planning – if you’re painting on a canvas in oils, you can paint over any mistakes, but with watercolours, slip up bad and you’re in trouble. At other times, it helps to get hands-on as soon as possible. If you have never used clay before, you’re going to have to have a few practice-runs before you get the final piece so you might as well get on and get your fingers dirty.
When P D James talks about the way she writes her detective novels, she explains that she has the whole thing planned out to the last detail before she sits down and writes. She does however, admit that even then things don’t always turn out the way she imagined. Minette Walters on the other hand openly confesses that she never plans anything and three-quarters through a book she’s writing she won’t yet know who did the murder (or whatever). The books of James and Walters are quite different – although they often appear on the same shelf in the library – and I think if you’ve read some of each author, you can probably see how each method lends itself to the sort of story each author writes, at least to some extent.
The point I’m trying to get to is that it strikes me that, when it comes to fiction, planning is an entirely personal thing. For me, I always rush in with stuff, but then there are certain points where I have had to stop and organise myself better with, for example, a timeline of events to help me keep a hold of the order of things. Next time I will probably be much more organised.
There are only a few tips I would give from my experience.