Monday, February 12, 2007

Planner or Plunger?

After posing the question on the 8th February: ‘if it’s your first book, how do you know if you’re a planner or a plunger?’ I think maybe I’ve worked out that I’m not a plunger regarding fiction. When I write articles, I’m definitely a plunger, I do lots of thinking with my fingers – think and type is how I’m happiest, then I cut up and paste (not on the computer, in real life with scissors and sellotape) and reassemble it.

On Saturday afternoon I realised that it was slow because I hadn’t really worked out what order I wanted the scenes in or even what each scene was to contain. I know the story but I need a plan to follow so I can still be creative without thinking about the logics of the structure. Maybe one day I’ll go back to being a plunger, but right now the logical thinking about what comes next is getting in the way of the creativity. On Friday and Saturday I got my word count up to 3,000, which I was pleased about if only because I was writing; remember, I couldn’t write without voices in my head! But it didn’t seem as much as I’d hoped.

I’ve been trying not to take on too much (100,000 words, isn’t so much, is it? Ha) so I thought that the simpler the structure the easier the job will be. I was trying to set the scene before the action starts, but there’s no getting away from the fact while it may be the beginning it shouldn’t be the start. So I’ve had to accept that I need flashbacks to explain the history. The rest of the weekend I just typed about the characters, I started conversations with them, and found out how they felt about each other. I worked out that the friend figure isn’t needed, and that the sister can do the job instead.

So in total I have about 5,300 words, but they aren’t story really – even first draft. I think I have to free write some more and let the story grow, then do my cutting and pasting job. So I’m not convinced that I can put all those words in the wordcount. I think maybe the 3,000… then after the cut and paste I can recount and see what happens.

7 comments:

Carol and Chris said...

At least you are writing!!

I think character development is really important - if I don't believe in the people I am reading about (or believe in their voice) then a part of the novel is lost to me.

x

JJ said...

Yes, true. Writing and enjoying it is, as this stage, more important than word count going up. This race was a race against me - and with everyone's lovely support, just getting writing was the challenge. The free writing thing is great for loosening up and not worrying and some of it may even eventually be used.

Got our new visas today!

JJ

Jen said...

I think freewriting and letting the story grow organically is the way to go...

I'm not a planner. I prefer to think that I've 'embarked' on my novel!!

JJ said...

Yes, I can see your point. Frankly, I still find the whole thing terrifying. I want to know what way to work: I want it to be definitive. Touch of the control freak in me, I fear? I realise that that's crazy woman talk - so often creative things aren't that simple. I will get on with the free writing tomorrow, and see where we go.

Kate.Kingsley said...

Hhhmm, interesting topic ~ sadly I am spenidng far too much time currently being a planner, and I need to do some plungeing quick smart!

Think I'll spend tonight plungeing into words on the page & see what happens. Thanks for the food for thought, JJ.

Best wishes
Kate

JJ said...

Hi Kate

I think writers suffer just as much with 'blank canvas' syndrome as artists do. I know that the free writing for me started to happen just as I was writing about the characters. There wasn't any pressure to begin my Novel, just writing without expectation. I worry way too much about 'do I do it this way or that way?', and as my husband says 'jfdi', which in polite company means 'just 'jolly well' do it. Hope you get writing...

JJx

hesitant scribe said...

Planner or Plunger? I think I use planning as a form of procrastination! The 'race' is a really good way of making me write that first draft without worrying about it - something new to me. I usually tweak paragraph by paragraph and it's laboriously slow! I guess we'll see how it goes...