Sunday, May 4, 2008

Developing a plan... and how I learned the hard way.

Several years ago I ran across my partial short story, and in reading it again, I realized how much I missed the creative process. So I continued writing.

Once again, I did not plan or think ahead. But I wrote. I should be clear that I am not necessarily recommending this approach to writing a novel. As you will read later, it comes at a price.

In the end, after a few months, I had over 240 typed pages. It should have been cause for celebration. I was well on my way to finishing my first novel. But I knew better. I was now reaping my lack of vision and preparation.

My story traveled in unexpected directions and contained an element of excitement but after 240+ pages, it was a confused mess. And after all, how could it go anywhere when no one was steering? I learned a very painful lesson that day. Writing without a plan to explore characters or develop an idea is helpful, but it is no way to write a whole book.

Here's where it gets really painful. I scrapped the whole thing, all 240+ pages. It was the hardest creative decision of my life, but I knew it was the only choice, if I really wanted to be a writer. And I believe that is when I discovered how much I wanted this.

Next time I would start with a plan.

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