Monday, 3 September 2012

To Plan or Not to Plan, And Other Meanderings


I haven’t blogged for a while because I haven’t had very much of use to say. I’m like one of those Magic 8 balls that comes up with gems like “Maybe later”, “Buggered if I know”, “I’ve no clue” and “um...” when shaken.


So I have no useful answers to any sensible questions you might have, but I am in that sweet zone of novel writing that comes just before you start the actual writing, where the place and the characters and what actually happens are all in a glorious flux. Sometimes I think I like this stage the best because nothing is quite nailed down yet and I’m still chasing research across Wikipedia (lately I have been looking at prehistoric sea creatures, the tallest buildings in London, and how gills work), while the characters are slowly forming in the green room, arguing over the biscuit tin and making endless cups of tea (there’s a girl called Esther who isn’t sure what she is, and a grumpy boy who isn’t happy with my decisions about his hair).


Planning though, planning’s the bitch. How much is too much? To plan everything within an inch of it’s life, to know the outcome of every decision and squabble, or to “pants” it and make it up as you go along? These are questions I’ve jousted with before, of course, over and over, and these days I use a mixture of both disciplines – know just enough about where you’re going to get started, and then see where the journey takes you. This is the way that seems to make sense to me, but I’d love to hear from anyone who is a planning purist or a dedicated by-the-seat-of-your-pants-er; how do you approach your next book?


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