Friday, February 4, 2011


Well, I have to say I thought I would've been ready to start writing by the beginning of this month but I'm not. And while I would like to say this sorta sucks, well. . . it kinda doesn't. Because were I to start writing now the resulting story wouldn't nearly be what I wanted it to be.

I mean, I did plan. Really, I did. Maybe not as much as I was supposed to but I had a beginning to end plan on paper. At first I was happy. But then I looked at it, really looked at it and thought, "This is not the story I was supposed to tell." And that was a bad realization because what I had written down wasn't better than the way I see it in my mind, in fact I think it was way worse.

I wonder how that might have happened and I think it was because the planning was done too quick and was too forced. Yet on the other hand I didn't spend nearly enough time planning which I believe was largely the reason for this result. So, I am giving myself this rest of this month to do some serious planning.

I think the hardest part of all this is not knowing where to start. I know I need to create the back stories of all my major characters at least, and that I need to plan out the plot and the character arc of this book, and figure out exactly who my characters are down to their bare instincts, and the world itself needs to be figured out still. Does this story take place in a hot place? A cold place? What is the society and culture like there? What sort of things might be ingrained in my character from growing up in such place? And then there's the magic system, or lack thereof. And it's just a bit overwhelming. How do I plan this out? Do I start small and then go big? Do I start with what I know and then ponder the things I don't or do I figure out what I don't know first? And just which part of this whole mess do I start with first?

It's all just burying me alive and I feel very small and useless.

But I know I'll get through this mess. Somehow. I think I might start with some back stories and some magic structure. I've been working on the cultures some, but still not enough. For this whole month I've got to focus on nothing other than planning this thing so I can write it. Even if I don't have much of a clue where to start.

How many of you feel this way sometimes?


Misha said...

Owl, my dear new friend, I welcome you to my world.

I have planned and planned and plotted and researched...

And burned myself out by the time I wrote twenty pages.

After all, it is NOT fun to work for weeks only to discover that your written words are nowhere near the wonderful vision glimmering in your minds eye.

But... then the mere scope of the planning still ahead of my made me shudder. There's just too much. I need to know why so-and-so is who he is.

Or why his best friend doesn't stand up for himself.

And the World! I've never started on it!

Pretty soon after it, I realized that the beast was bigger than I am. So how could I plan?

Easy, I didn't. I stored my first version on my computer and bought a notebook and pen. I wrote and wrote and wrote until the first draft was done more or less a year later.

Yes... I saw that I had gaping plot holes, but I now knew where I was going. And because of that, I knew what information to contemplate.

I found that way a lot more manageable.

Aaaanyway. I know this doesn't exactly answer your question, but I thought I'd throw something in extra. ;-)

But yes. My story is very overwhelming. Even now, the scope of it scares me so much that I stop for days (sometimes months) to take a break. But I can always go back, knowing that I completed it once, so the second time would be even better.

Also, if you want to talk, or just need a shoulder to cry on, please mail me. I promise I won't spew advise unless asked. I'm usually better than the above at keeping advice to myself.

Good luck!



Book Owl said...

Thank you for that, it's nice to know I'm not the only one.

I've already written a first draft but it needs to be rewritten because it was horrible, so I am attempting to plan it more thoroughly this time around. But no matter how much I plan I don't think I will ever have planned enough to satisfy my perfectionist side.

I feel a bit more stable today, looking at only a small part of what needs to be done instead of the whole of it, it's helping. But only a little.

And thank you so much for your advice and offer to lend an ear if I need it. :]

Claudie A. said...

Misha's advice is good. While it's important to have an idea of the surrounding world, your story is what matters the most.

Develop the world around it. Heck, I'd say develop the characters around it, too.

Once you have a good idea of the plot, it's easier to tell what needs to be known. I went through the entire plot asking "Why?" about my character's actions, the geography, the cultural beliefs.

Then you tie as many of these as you can, revise the plot, and write again. That's how I've been doing it, anyway. :)

Good luck and keep working!