Thursday, 4 November 2010

A cry for help to all you planners out there . . .

Right, my new novella thing that I'm trying to write.  I'm a bit stuck.  I write character stuff, see, and after a few hundred words I can see this one is going to need some planning.  I've got a plot, so I'm okay with that.  That's a step ahead of where I usually am.  Even with the book, I didn't have anything other than a vague direction.  But with this, my first go at a novella length detective story, planning, it seems, is definitely the way to go.

This isn't a rehash of the age-old debate on whether to plan or to wing it.  This is me knowing I've got to plan, and having no idea where to start.having no clue as to where to start.

So if there's any of you inveterate planners out there with any tips, I'd be much obliged.

Thank you.


  1. I wing it too ... BUT if I were to write a detective novel (I havent got that mindset or talent) I think I would need timelines, what happened when, for each character separately, the criminal, the victim , the suspects, the detective, and then reveal what I needed to to whoever (reader, characters)as I deemed necessary as the story unfolded. If you see what I mean !

  2. Paul - You understand my dilemna, then. From one winger to another, I haven't a clue . . .

  3. Sue - Makes a lot of sense. Seems from what you say, if I was proper organised, the novella would almost write itself. I like the sound of that :)

  4. See if this helps - think of it as a movie, and plan it in scenes. What happens first? Where do you cut to next? When do your characters introduce themselves, and what are the little beggars getting up to off camera?

    Getting your main events in the order in which you want to show them (which may not be the order in which they happen) should help you see the overall picture. Then you can look at 'weighting'. How many words (ish) does each scene warrant?

    Chances are you'll change it all as you write anyway, but still...

    Good luck! :)

  5. I don't plan either. But on the book I'm finishing now, I did write the middle and end out of sync to make sure the total ended up near 80,000 words.

  6. Hi Jools. Great stuff. Think I need some structure, though I'm leaning towards that first person jump in and wade through the shit thing. Will be a learning experience if nothing else.

  7. Hi Charlie. Know what you mean about the out of sync thing. The one book I managed to finish writing, I wrote the last chapter before I'd written the previous seven, just so I had some chance of getting near the sixty thousand mark. Just scraped home in the end, but if it weren't for doing the out of sync wotsit, I'm not sure I would have made it.