Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Planning Novels - and a Twitter footnote

Throughout my writing career, fate has always stepped in with a helping hand when I need it.

This year's goal was to complete and submit my junior/middle grade novel [tick] and write another novel, the first in my current trilogy [I'm working on it].

Currently the latter novel is half done with most scenes mapped out. Not necessarily in order but in some instances heaps of pages written, dialogue, etc. so I'm further ahead then I think. I raced through it to the 20K mark then stopped. Shakes head. Not right.

So began a fresh round of thinking and planning during which I realised since the next three novels were loosely connected, maybe I should expand and tinker with them, too, huh?

The creation of a novel comes to each author in a different way. Bless those who can sit down and write. I can't. I instinctively write my first draft by hand with a pen and paper. It's slow but the simple act of writing gives me a chance to think as I write. Typing to me feels rushed.

Always doubting myself and my writing process, I have been reassured by what has cropped up in writing-related articles in recent times while I've needed and wanted to do all this planning. I've read things like

" takes so long to think up and edit a novel...I may spend months brooding over it..."

Good to know.

And that there should be a sense of structure and planning. When you know what your ending is, you know what you're writing. Not every detail but what you're heading toward. The skeleton on which to build the story. This is how I need to work, am organised by nature, so am feeling validated now. I could never sit down and just wing it.

So as a consequence, my brain has been hyperactive and constantly ticking over, sleep was restless. And all that extra thinking just seems to generate yet more ideas that I need to scribble down and file for a later date. When to write all this stuff!

So, planning? Yep. Been there, done that, in recent weeks.

My office, my haven

So now my head is crammed with pretty much the entire plots for three books. Like I said, scenes planned but not in order and that's the scary bit. Where does it all go? During all this time of course I have been reading over my folder of novel planning notes - characters and goals and backstory, how they must collide, secrets, surprises. The whole bit.

I was reassured today in yet something else I read that all this head banging is a good thing. Really? Yep. If you're happily putting words on paper and its FUN, just maybe you're not pushing yourself hard enough. That's the lesson I learned when I screamed to a halt in my current Book 1 of the trilogy. I thought I had enough to start but, of course, it wasn't enough for the whole darn thing, was it?

So now to tussle with the order of all those scenes and settle down to finishing that novel. And the golden rule that writing is rewriting will always stand me in good stead.

Footnote - Twitter

I've recently joined Twitterland and been mostly an observer to see how it works. It's not as chatty as Facebook and clearly there's not the space for detail. But I can see it's a handy little social corner.

So my question: What do authors feel is the most effective way to use those 140 characters on Twitter? 

Some tweets say things like "This is great. You must read it" and give a link. Huh? What's great? What's it about?

So I'm experimenting with getting to the basics of quickly telling the reader what they need - and what I want  them - to know at a glance. Because, if they're like me, they zip and scroll down. If they're interested in your tweet, they'll stop.

Any thought and comments appreciated.

Have a great writing day.