Using my inkling of an idea for a plot, I developed a very rough story concept. Once I had some idea of what was going to happen, main characters stepped forward. With characters ready to go, I could fill in a few more details of the plot, and then I was ready to start writing.
Weird, I finished with just a side of A4 of scribbled well-spaced sentences and notes, and that was way more planning than I’ve done for anything else, but I can’t help thinking, what more could anyone need? I know some people end up with huge diagrams and grids and pages and pages of notes. . . That’s not for me, though I’ll admit a little planning hasn’t killed me, and I’m hoping it might even improve my writing!
Another way of looking at it: if you were drawing someone’s portrait would you prefer to have every feature marked out with points before you start, or would you sketch the faintest outline to make sure you’ve got the main bits and everything’s in proportion, but then get on and fill in the middle? Different people, different approaches.
Speaking of middle, now that I have a couple of chapters done (first draft remember so in no way finished) I’ve also created character sheets for the main players and started jotting down details. Each sheet is half an A4 page – is that A5? – with headings like appearance, personality, history, and points of interest. I’m hoping these will remind me to create a properly rounded personality. Normally I just use a word document to keep all that straight and I only start it when there’s some detail I know I’ve already written but can’t find! But I think this better because it’s all there already. Plus I can see instantly how much I have in different areas for each character – At the moment I have very little physical description for one, while another is developing quite evenly. And I can check the sheets while my story is open. No more switching between documents, yay!
To allay any fears, I’m not going to make this into a day by day diary of ‘writing my novel’. I can’t think anyone would be interested in daily word counts or how I spent an hour working on one paragraph. (I got stuck in tweaking instead of writing, it happens sometimes.) Then again I could be wrong and you’d find it fascinating, in which case let me know, but otherwise I’ll just keep you up to date with the main developments.
Heading for another world.