Planning vs Not Planning
In my earlier posts, I talked about the detailed planning I did when writing The FitzOsbornes at War. I just want to emphasise that this is NOT THE ONLY WAY TO WRITE A NOVEL. It's not even the only way I write novels. For my first book, I did ZERO planning. I had no idea how to write a novel, so I just sat down and started typing scenes, which turned into chapters. Eventually, I had a lot of words. Most of them were rubbish. I threw out a lot, kept the bits I liked and started typing again. This draft was a bit better. I kept doing this for another seven drafts. Eventually I had a book.
I decided to plan my next book, A Brief History of Montmaray, because it was told in the form of journal entries, with dates, and I wanted to incorporate a lot of real historical events into my story. For me, the only way I could keep everything straight in my head was to use index cards. When I was writing the next two Montmaray books, I refined my system a little (for example, I learned that writing down page references for the sources I was using saved me a lot of time and frustration).
For the book I'm working on now, I'm still using my planning system, even though the book isn't told in journal form. It does have a lot of historical research in it, though, so I think my system will help me keep track of what I'm doing.
But (and I finally get to the point of this blog post), writers have their own individual ways of doing things. Each writer, and each writing project, is unique. If you're a writer, don't let anyone (not even teachers; not even writing teachers) tell you there's only one way to write. There isn't! You can plan, or you can jump straight into writing without any planning. You can edit as you go, or you can leave the editing until you have a complete draft. It's entirely up to you. The great thing is that it doesn't matter how you do it. All that matters is what you end up with.
How do you write? Are you a planner or a non-planner?
Tomorrow: Real People in Historical Fiction