Sunday, September 16, 2012

To plan or not to plan

For all the novels I've started to write, whether or not they've progressed very far, I've planned them. In fact, before I even start writing, I spend weeks and weeks planning as much as I possibly can.

In my head I build my world, I build the back story of my world, I build the creatures and people of my world, and then I create my characters. I look into their lives, their relationships, their back stories. I think long and hard about what to name them .... their name has to be perfect. Then I listen to where the journey is going to take them. Then I plot out their journey (as loosely as possible).

Of course, I expect things to change while writing, and I'm perfectly open to things changing... but before I even start writing, everything needs to have been created.

One of my friends said to me during my planning phase of my current WIP, 'You know, most authors just create while writing. Everything they need to know comes to them as they write.'
I know many people do this. I wish I was one of them, but I'm not. I need to know everything. I need to have a total and complete understanding before I even start telling my characters story.

I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Perhaps that's why. I'm terrified of potential plot holes and character mishaps.... I want everything to be real. I want people to read it and for them to not think 'well there's no way that character would ever do that.'

So I plan. It's what I do best. I've always been a crazy planner. Whether it's traveling, or getting ready for a new school year, or planning a birthday party. I plan. It's not a fool proof way of avoiding slip ups, but it keeps me in my safety net. I don't have too many surprises.

Some might say it messes with the creative process... but I don't think it does. If anything it leads me in the right direction while still giving me the freedom to run all over the show.

So I'm curious - in your writing, do you plan ahead, or do you take each chapter, plot arc and turning point as it comes?

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