A Novel in 3 months (week 6) – more writing

Last thing watched: American Pie (yeah, it’s juvenile, frequently gross and sexist but it also appeals to the teenage boy inside :grin:)
on the iPod: The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass (RWNational conference CD)

I hope we’re all furiously writing!  I heard an interesting thing about plotters the other day:  visualise a 1-10 plotting scale, with 1 being “no plotting ever, just writing” and 10 being “charts, sheets, colour coding, files and plans”.  Now apparently, Suzanne Brockmann is a 10 – it takes her a few months to do all this preparation work, but the upside is her first draft is pretty much perfect, with only a light edit to follow.  OTOH, Nora Roberts is a 1 – she just sits down and starts to write.

Now, most people are around a 3-5 on the scale.  I plot because it’s just efficient for me to do so.  Sometimes the story takes an unexpected turn, but generally, my revisions include deepening the original frame I’ve set up for the story.

Remember, as you’re writing, if your process works for you and you’re happy with it, please continue to do it your way!  But if you want a less stressful/more productive/different/less confusing/more organized way of writing, try other techniques.  That’s what these posts are all about: getting you to think about how you write and see if you can improve getting those words down on the page with less rewriting.  There are as many ways to write as there are individual writers – we all learn differently so it stands to reason we write differently.   I know I’m a visual learner:  give me a video, a slide show, a mind map or visual chart and I’m there.  I take copious notes and will daydream if a lecture doesn’t feature anything I can ‘connect’ to.  Most people are visual learners.  The next largest group is the aural learners (they prefer to hear what’s being taught – lectures rather than reading assignments – and get lost when the charts and graphs come out, )  and then tactile learners (they find it hard to sit still for long periods and need to have something to occupy their hands in order to process the information – that’s why you’ll see some people doodling in meetings and workshops).  If you’re interested in reading more about this fascinating subject, you can check out some info in a pdf  here.

Now it’s writing time – let’s get BICHOKing (butts-in-chair-hands-on-keyboard) and I’ll check in a little later.  Any speedbumps and just give a yell!


2 comments on “A Novel in 3 months (week 6) – more writing

  1. I’m definitely visual with a side measure of tactile thrown in. This kinda stuff fascinates me.

    But back to the wip… Paula, what sort of goal do you have a day/ week etc in terms of word count? Or do you aim for a scene? I see from you word count bar that the wip you are working on in conjunction with this blog has you at 17k+… so when do you expect to complete? Obviously within the three months form the start of this blog – but does that incorporate editing also?

    And how often do you step back and revisit your original plotting – every day or just when you feel you are getting off track?

    Thanks Paula

  2. I don’t have a daily word count because that’s just way too anal for me 😀 Actually, I don’t have a weekly one either – sometimes I think I should but then when I don’t meet it, I end up mentally castigating myself for ages, which makes me snappy and wastes energy and I really don’t do well with guilt. 😛 What I do do is look at my deadline and think – ‘right, I have to write about 250 pages before then.’ Then I check Word’s word count counter after I’ve finished writing for the day and get a little buzz when I see it’s crept higher. Sounds totally unstructured, right? 😉

    ATM I’m writing in scenes, following the logical flow from page 1 onwards. I do expect to complete my first solid draft by the end of April (although events are already conspiring against me… school holidays, I’m talking to you!). Generally, my first 50p only needs a light edit (cutting/tightening, rewording, etc) but the rest of the story will need a bit more. My two major issues are repetitiveness (I have a list of my commonly ‘overused’ words that I check for once the draft is done) and a logical time line (I need to draw up dates and events on an actual calendar to get it sorted in my head, then go through the mss to double check it makes sense).

    re: plotting: my original plotting is pretty much in my head the whole time I’m writing, plus on the screen in Document Map and on the whiteboard behind my desk, so I seem to stay on track for most of it. Because I’m constantly thinking of that story and those characters, ways to deepen or enhance it is always at the forefront. I guess ‘off track’ is a bit of a misnomer, because I really don’t see it as that, rather, as an improvement 😀 The first thing I think is “does this work better than the original way?” Generally it does. I find my best writing comes after I’ve gotten the entire story down first.

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