Wednesdays are usually the day I post a book review but with my slump still lingering like a bad smell I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my other passion, writing.
Today I thought I’d go through how I planned my current project. I don’t have a set way of planning and every novel I’ve started to write has had a different planning process but this one has really worked for me.
I start a little backwards and when inspiration hits me I write a blurb as soon as possible. I have had this idea for about 2 years now but I still remember the way the idea came to me. I was listening to Emperor’s New Clothes by Panic! @ the the Disco and I saw a story unfold where, not to give too much away but, the 7 deadly sins battle in a tournament every 100 years to rein supreme. So the first thing I did was grab my journal and write down the basis of the idea in as much detail as I could so I wouldn’t forget.
When I read a book the thing I look for most is a well fleshed out character who feels like they could be real in some way. There are loads of templates out there to help you to bring your characters to life and I used one 2 years ago but when I revisited it I found they were full of useless info e.g favourite colours and foods which might be useful for Chick Lit but not for this WIP. I focused instead on 4 areas
*Appearance (including distinguishing marks/tattoos)
*Hobbies / habits / quirks
*Role in the novel.
The fourth I’d say is the most important. Exploring their role in the novel really helped me figure out what each one of their backstories might be, what secrets they might have etc. It also helped me see how the plot might work for/against them and think of scenes.
The Big 3:
I often struggle with getting overly excited about an idea and just diving straight in with no real plan and that’s probably my biggest downfall and the reason I have only ever completed a first draft of one of my many ideas in the past. So since this idea has niggled at me for two years and I’m finally ready to tackle it I knew I had to work out the big plot points in the beginning, middle and end. For me the beginning and middle were really easy to jot down but I always struggle on the end game! My younger brother is also a writer and he mentioned on his current work in progress (WIP) he’s found it to be the opposite. My predicament was I had several ideas for where it could go, I jotted them all down hoping one would stick.
Chapters & Events:
Once you have the big 3 worked out you can split it down and focus on each one to work out what happens in each chapter to get you to and past the big plot point in the 3 sections. This was actually quite easy for me as I knew there was going to be a tournament so I just had to add a few more scene ideas to build around the games. The trickiest part was working out which of the games on my list I would use, how the scoring would work and then how each individual would react/how this would affect the dynamics of the group.
Once I had these 4 areas completed everything else started to unfold a lot more clearly. As I went through game ideas I could see the world they were living in. As I went through character profiles I could get a feel for which of them would be big personalities and therefore need to be brought to the front of the plot as a key player.
I think there’s a bit of a running theme throughout the four steps that the trick for me is to break it down. Planning a novel, especially a fantasy novel, seemed really daunting but breaking it down meant I could plan this around everything else I do on a daily basis and still give it 100%.
I set myself the goal of finishing the bulk of planning by midnight 14th to start writing on 15th June and I hit it. As with all novels I’ll still need to add bits to my plans as I go along as I often steer off into better directions but that’s what my trusty notebook is for!
I hope you enjoyed this post, I know it’s a little different to my usual but I’m hoping to do more posts on writing in the future.