I have been looking back over the way I have been doing things lately, and come to the conclusion that a lot of the reason I have failed to make headway in the past is due in part to the paucity of planning (with healthy chunks of laziness thrown in for good measure.)
In the past I really didn’t plan. Generally the case was that I’d get an idea, jot it down in a notebook and that would be the extent of the planning. I’d start writing at page one and then when I ran into a dead end I had no planning to know what came next.
If I had been writing the Lord of the Rings, I’d have a notebook which on one page would have the following; ‘Frodo inherits magic ring from uncle. Needs to throw into volcano to destroy? Meets companions at elf town, set out. Boromir dies? Ring destroyed. Aragon becomes king? Walking trees??’
And that would most likely be the some total of planning. I’d start writing, get a few thousands words in and have an idea about how Frodo’s uncle received the ring, and start writing a new story called The Hobbit.
The conclusion I reached was that, for me, that wasn’t working. It was when I was reading through an article by Jen Hayley on her blog about how she was planning her book that I realised I, too, needed to start doing some planning if I was to get anywhere. The article is at Virtual Plotting Board, and I am grateful for the inspiration it gave.
So for once I have sat down and plotted out a story properly, more or less. For Winter Wolves, I have a series of plot points and sub-plot points already mapped out. There will undoubtedly be changes and additions made, but I am optimistic that with this story that I can make headway as I have a start, middle and end mapped out.