Sticking to the plan?

Plan

I thought I’d do a pre-Christmas post about sticking to the plan when writing. Or not. You see I’ve found it hard to stick to the plan for my current story Teaching Mr Leavis (a romance).

In the past when I’ve begun working on a story, I’ve made a plan and mostly stuck to it. Not so with this story. This time, for some reason, I’ve veered quite far from the plan.

This has brought opportunities and complications. I’ve found that as regards the plot, I floundered quite a bit after the beginning. I kind of had an idea for the end (although that too has now changed), but I had no clue as to what should happen in the middle of the story.

Which obviously creates a problem. The thing is I’d only semi-planned what should happen in the middle of the story and when the story began to unfold in a very different way to what I’d initially planned, it was hard for me to rein it in, if you like, and bring it back to what I’d originally planned.

So I didn’t. I just went with the flow and although it’s been quite exciting, I would say that next time I’d rather stick a bit more closely to the plan. Because the thing is, despite appearances to the contrary, I’m a plotter not a pantser and while it was exciting to have the characters move the plot along in ways I couldn’t have expected, I also felt rather lost.

In general I’m a highly organised person. So when things don’t go according to plan, that can feel a little strange for me! But I’m the first to admit it has been interesting writing this story and doing it a bit more by the ‘seat of my pants’! I’ve been able to develop characters and change aspects of their natures. I’ve thought more about what really works in a romance,what readers of romance expect when they read one, and how I can fulfill their expectations.

The main problem I’ve found by not sticking to the plan is that the story is a lot shorter than I’d envisaged. I was initially aiming for around 70,000 words and it’s come out about 20,000 words short. I don’t think this is necessarily a problem though. I don’t know if you’ll agree with this, but it seems to me that ebooks can be virtually any length, that really anything goes. That’s just what I’ve surmised over the past couple of years through blogging and interacting with other authors, as well reading other indie authors’ books.

To conclude then I would say that for me as a writer, I work better and more productively when I have a more coherent plan to begin with. I would never say that I would stick religiously to it, but a good plan helps give the story I’m writing a good backbone, a good skeleton on which to build the flesh of my narrative. But writing Teaching Mr Leavis has definitely been an interesting process to explore what works for me as a writer.

So over to you. Are you a plotter or a pantser or a bit of both? How do you tackle the whole writing process?

What’s going on in my world right now

world

I know I’ve been absent from my blog for a while. Well actually from my writing my novel a bit too. I didn’t even take part in WIPpet Wednesday this week.

The reason is that I’m preoccupied with work matters. May sound boring, actually quite exciting. Today was my first morning of my work experience with Bristol City Council (here in the-sometimes-sunny UK!).

It went really well, but I was very nervous last night and apprehensive, not to say completely knackered, which is why I didn’t take part in WIPpet Wednesday.  The people I’m going to be working with were really friendly though, and welcoming which was great.  I think the work is going to be good and I’m excited about it.

Just to confuse you, I found out today that I’ve got an interview for a part time paid job (the work experience is unpaid).  So I feel like I’m in a win win situation – if I get the paid job that’s fantastic, if not I’ve still got the work experience to be doing.

In the first paragraph of this post I mentioned that I’d been absent from my writing.  I can explain!  I’ve done well over 4000 words on my new WIP.  But although I know where I want it to go at the end, as well as some of the action that takes place in the middle, I wasn’t sure how to carry on from where I’d initially got to.

So I’ve gone back to the drawing board so to speak.  I’m fleshing out scenes that could take place between my MC and my other characters immediately after where I’ve got up to on the computer.  This is going well but taking a while, so I’ve been away from my lovely pink laptop for a while and curled up on the sofa scribbling away in my notebook.

Phew!  So now you’re pretty much up to date with where I’m at.  I hope to be doing more proper writing soon and taking part in WIPpet Wednesday again next week – lack of tiredness permitting!

Happy Writing Everyone! :-D

How I write

Writing

Just a quick post to update you a little on how I’m getting on with writing every day this month.

Not bad so far. I’ve written properly, working on my WIP Reunion, most days. The days I don’t have given me the opportunity to start planning my next story – which to me counts as work on my writing.

That’s been really nice, to get back to planning which I always enjoy. But doing work every day on my writing has made me compare how I’m doing now writing/working on writing every day with my usual ‘method’ of working on it most days but not every single day.

The highest word count I’ve managed in one day, writing this way, is about 600 which for me isn’t bad. However a few times before this month, when I wasn’t working on my WIP every day, I could do well over 1000.

So the question I’m pondering is this: is it better to write every day and do less each time, but have the total add up to quite a lot, or is it better to write a bit more sporadically but write in heftier chunks?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! :)

Editing whilst writing first draft

For practically the first time since starting this blog, I’m not putting an image with the blog post.  Honestly I just can’t be bothered, it’s too time consuming and there are other things I want to do this evening apart from blogging.

The title of this post is fairly self explanatory.  I’ve been working at my current WIP for a while today and yet I haven’t got much to show for it in terms of a word count.  That’s because I’ve been going through what I’ve already written and trying to iron out inconsistencies.

You might say I should leave that for when I edit the first draft.  But the thing is my memory isn’t always fantastic and I just want to make sure I make what I’ve written make sense before I forget exactly what it was I wanted to correct.  (OK, yes I am aware I’m repeating the word ‘make’ too much!!)  My MC is a writer herself – a much more successful one than me so I guess you could say I’m living vicariously through her!

She’s writing a novel but my problem was my inconsistencies about exactly which stage she is at with it at different points in the story.  And believe me, my storytelling was all over the place when it came to my character’s novel.  At some points she’d just finished it, at other points she was still making notes for a plan for it.  Anyway, you get my drift.

So I felt I really needed to alter it now while what I’ve been writing is still fresh in my mind.  Trouble was I kept having to scroll up and down the page in Word to search for what I wanted to amend.  Apparently Scrivener is meant to be an excellent programme for authors, particularly for times just like this.  I downloaded a free trial of it which I haven’t made much use of yet – I keep meaning to have a go with it properly but haven’t got round to it yet.

Word is simple yes, but it doesn’t do much for you in this situation.   I really need to be able to access information quickly without having to go back and forth getting completely lost.

How about you?  Do you edit a bit before finishing your first draft?  And have you tried/do you have Scrivener?  If so, what are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear them. :)