Now that I have you hooked, I thought I should let you know that this planning method might not work for everyone. Yes, I’ve said it. Although I don’t think that you’ll find you’ve mismanaged your time by working through the assignments at the end of each post, you may not find that you feel any more ready to write a novel when you put down your planning pencil on October 31st than your did at the beginning of this series.
Everyone has a different method that works for them. But unless you’ve already discovered a system that works for you (in that case, congrats and I hope you’re enjoying the series all the same) the only way you’ll find your novelling bliss is trying a few different methods.
In my own writing, I found myself stalling over and over again a few pages after my protagonists’ turning point – they had made the decision to do whatever was being asked of them, and had started on their journey. I had the plot vaguely sketched in my head, I knew all the major plot points I need to get them to, and yet, I couldn’t get there.
One day, tired of being stuck, I was discussing my current novel with a friend, and through reflection, realized that the problem was, I didn’t know what my character might do next. Everything I tried to move the plot forward didn’t seem organic. It felt like I was forcing her into a situation that didn’t fit her. It was because of this revelation that I started planning my character, thinking about her in terms of the story, and letting her dictate where the plot would go. I made a few changes to the plot to reflect what I now knew about her, and adjusted a couple of other characters to comply with new roles that would facilitate a personal journey I had never imagined for my protagonist, and off I went, over the hurdle.
For me, barrelling through a manuscript with little in mind but the endgame (a wildly popular practice that works for many, many writers) just didn’t work. I didn’t know my characters well enough.
If you regularly get stuck when you’re writing a piece of long fiction, where does it usually happen?
Every October, hundreds of bloggers gather at The Nesting Place to write for 31 days straight on a variety of different topics, teaching and encouraging and offering tips and tricks to make life easier.