Sunday, October 11, 2009

Planning is a bust? Maybe I need a 5 Step Program

So, I'm having an extremely difficult time with my planning. Research is going well, characters are just dandy.... but getting to the next part of any of the methods I have been working with is proving to be difficult. I'm not entirely certain why. Maybe I am distracted because I do other things at the same time. My answer to this, though, is that I like doing other things. I know that most often it is suggested to sit somewhere quiet and write, but I find that I can write just fine in a loud, busy area. Last year, I wrote two short stories for a writing workshop class. They both came out to be about 3,000 words each and I wrote them in a matter of a few hours a day over 3 days (this was including going to school full time, working 2 part time jobs, planning a wedding and a cross country move AND doing homework) and never once sat anywhere quiet without distraction. I'm a multi-tasker and I just can't do only one thing at a time.

With that said, I don't think this is my problem. If this is the case, then what IS my problem? I think my problem is that my brain finds these processes too tedious. When I was younger (and even when I was writing short stories last year) I was more writing with little planning. I would take copious notes on my idea, storyline and characters, maybe make a few plot points and then just write. While this worked for me, I did find that with this way I would get stuck for a while and not know what to write next, but it worked for me in the long run. I also found it difficult to add foreshadowing and some little details the first time around.

I don't think this method will work fully for NaNoWriMo though. Especially with my idea for this year. But, I just don't think I can stomach writing a 10,000 word outline either. I'm sure this would make me feel like I've already said what I needed to say and I think it would take away a lot of the thrill of writing the story for me. Instead, what I think I may do is a more refined version of what I mentioned earlier. Let me explain.

1. Come up with an Idea and write a short paragraph explaining the premise to the novel. (2-4 sentences, max.)
2. Decide on a few major characters. Write a paragraph and/or a series of notes about important things you need to know about each character.
3. Research your topic or anything related to your novel that you feel the need to research.
4. Write a list of plot points (or scenes, if you would rather) to make up a beginning, middle and end. (Three Act system should be present, I feel, and there should hopefully be around 30 or so plot points.)
5. Write a paragraph (or two max) outlining each plot point and add any notes desired.

Yes indeed. I think it will be my 5 step program. LOL. This way I have an idea of where I'm going but with out taking the thrill and fun away from forming new ideas as I create. The first two steps can be interchangeable as you desire and step three can be continued throughout the entire process if you like. Also, notice I only write a paragraph or two about my characters and then make notes about them. I find that I personally prefer to just FEEL them than write down every single detail of their entire being. It's sort of like learning about them as you write. Some writers are not into that, but I find it to be the best way for me.

Last thing I want to talk about is characters. I came up with a few new characters and thought I'd share. I love coming up with names for my characters. It's one of my favourite parts of creating characters and I spend a lot of time deciding the right names for them. My two newest characters are James and Adam Weyland. They own a beach-side restaurant together and in their free time ride dirt-bikes in the desert. How I came up with these two: The other day when driving home from work, I saw two guys on motorcycles at a stop light. It appeared as though one of them was scolding the other for riding erratically (whether this was the case, I will never know) and I made up this back story for them. Thus, Adam and James Weyland were created. I'm also added an third character who is a nurse.... but I do not have anything further for her as of yet.

And that is all for now, I think. I feel much better (blogging and writing is so soothing!) and expect to start making plot points tonight or tomorrow.

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