Well, if I may quote one of the most famous poets of our time, Jim Morrison “The time to hesitate is through“.
If you read my previous posts, you know that I am at the beginning of this journey, and that it is very important for me to learn as much as I can before I start really working on my first novel. What my personal experience tells me is that, if you are like me (as in, not sure where to start), you should probably read a little before you sit down and start typing* (Well, I will refer to this comment shortly).
I found the “sit down and write, let the chips fall where they may” approach overwhelming. No matter how much confidence I had in my abilities, I always drew a blank when I sat down without a plan. After some pretty extensive reading, I realized that this probably puts me in a group of writers called “Plotters” (a very generic definition is a person who prefers to plan his novel before he starts). This would be the opposite of “Pantsers” who are generally characterized by sitting down and trying to write their manuscript with the general idea in their minds, and without a schematic plan.
An excellent article I read on the subject (by Glen C. Strathy) made me think of the following question – How much should I plan?
I have read about a few techniques to develop a novel (Goals, characters, conflicts, themes, climax, ending, settings etc.) and they all make a lot of sense. I spent the last few days pondering the advantages of each techniques, only to eventually realize that there is only one thing I can do with the abundance of information at my fingertips.
The one thing I can (and honestly, must) do is to start writing.
I cannot let the information hide the novel from me, and so…
Today, I start the work on my first novel (untitled). I am creating an outline for my novel, and will continue based on that. If you like structure, and want to read about this subject, here are two examples. The are more, but I found these very interesting and helpful:
The snowflake method – by Randy Ingermanson
Based on Dramatica theory created by Melanie Anne Phillips and Chris Huntley – by Glen C. Strathy (This article branches to plenty other very interesting ones)
Let me stop here and circle back to that comment from the first paragraph. I wrote “you should probably read a little before you sit down and start typing” and I did not mean that you should not write. It is always, and without exception, a good practice to write. Anything. While I am pondering the aforementioned questions, I write this blog. I write poetry (I might share some with you), and as part of my “day job” I write emails and documents. While playing with the techniques I’m learning, I practice my writing. So, keep writing, even if it’s not the novel yet.
While you write, here’s something to think about: