When I sat down to prepare for NaNoWriMo in October, I knew I needed to plan. I needed to plan when and where I was going to write. And I kind of knew that I needed to know what I was going to write. Instead of writing my post-its to summarise a chapter, I wrote post-its to tell me what I was going to write. I filled a whole notebook with notes about what I was going to write. And then I sat down and wrote. And there the angel descended and cast light over my writing desk and sang in a voice of a million choirists: Thou shall plan forever more.
The thing is that while the planning tool I used was useful, now that I have had my epiphany I need something else, something... better.
Randy* Ingermanson's Snowflake method was mentioned on Bubblecow a while back, so I recommended it to someone else. At the time, I was floating on the glow of having finished a first draft of A twist in the tail and wasn't planning on planning again for a while. But it seems that NaNo turned the tap on and I've got three ideas on the go. The person I recommended the snowflake thingy too, said she was using it and it was quite good and I thought I'd give it a go. There's a ten point design system that takes you from a triangle to a ... well you go look at the site yourself if you're interested. So far, I'm finding the 'snowflake thingy' (as it shall now be known) challenging. For a start, I have a really bad time following instructions and I only read them properly when I mess up. Then, I'm impatient. I don't want to spend hours working on one paragraph. And I'm also a bit dubious when I look at the side bar and see yet another piece of software that will revolutionise the writing process. But, I'm also getting excited. For a start, the more I plan, the more I see that actually quite a lot of the first draft of The Shaelhan Sensors can be salvaged. I can also see that where there was a bit of substance and texture missing in the first draft, this can also be added.
The last thing I'm discovering is that planning isn't killing the creative process at all. It's just that I'm doing all those what if's and talking to my characters now, instead of later. If anything, I think it's really enhancing the creative process. I'm on stage 4 of the snowflake thingy at the moment. But a few questions to you the readers now.
- Are you a plan or just write and see where it goes person?
- And if you are a planner, what works for you?
* snigger, snigger