Friday, June 1, 2012

I, uh, forgot to pack my...

Plot. I forgot to pack my plot.
"Huh?" You ask, scratching the side of your head.
Well, today is June 1st--otherwise known as the beginning of Camp NaNoWriMo. It's like the normal NaNoWriMo, but in the summer and with cabins full of other writers.
The writers in my cabin are probably happily building their word counts and chatting with each other right now. Well, okay, they're probably in their beds, deeply asleep, dreaming about words and stories. It's nearly 3 am as I write this, and since I have an abnormal fear of the hour 3 am, I refuse to go to bed until 4. I'm thinking, though, that I'll just pull an all-nighter. It's summer.
I'm not writing though. I'm hiding out behind the dining hall at camp, biting my nails.
What's my problem?
My cat, Christopher Robin, trying not to laugh at me as he lounges on all there is of my WIP. 

So. I recently finished my first manuscript, and immediately began planning my next novel because Camp was just a couple of days away. It seems it takes me slightly longer than a couple of days to plan a novel. I am definitely NOT a pantser. Not even slightly.
I must have every single scene plotted before I can write the novel, or I get terrible writer's block mixed with the anxiety that this idea might not be novel worthy. This is part of the reason why it took me three years to finish my first manuscript. I had the beginning, the climax, the end, and a bunch of scenes in between that I wanted to get to. I even made lists (especially when I had writer's block) of the sequence of events. I really didn't get very far in my novel until I realized that my problem was I had events, but I didn't have a detailed enough outline. So I wrote a summary of each day that the novel took place over, including all of the scenes.
I'm approaching my SummerStory slightly differently, but it's fundamentally the same. Right now, it's twenty scenes scribbled on twenty note cards, chronologically placed on my floor while I try to fill in the large gaps in between.
It's not quite ready to be written yet. Getting there. Just, not yet.
I never imagined planning a new novel would be so scary. How did I ever do this before?
Okay, I'm going to quite literally crack my knuckles and get back to plotting now. It's raining. Maybe that'll inspire me.

So how about you? How do you plan for a novel? Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo? (:


  1. It's a very strange feeling, going from writing a novel that you've been working on for years, to planning a new one in the space of a few days. I had a similar experience with Last Breath -- I'd been writing it for 20 months, and once it was done, I had to move on immediately for last November's NaNoWriMo. Had to do a lot of pantsing that year.

    This year I've planned my NaNo novel using plot cards, like you, but I've written mine up a feature of the Scrivener writing programme, so that no person (or animal) can sit on my story plan ;D (My rabbit used to enjoy doing that whenever I was writing around him. Come to think of it, my sister does the same thing a lot too, unintentionally for the most part.)

    How's the planning coming along? Almost ready to start writing your NaNo novel? :)

    1. Almost.(: How long does it usually take you to plan a novel?

  2. To plan it fully? Anywhere between a week and a month, depending on how much I do each day and how complex the plot is. But usually I jump in and start writing halfway through planning, when I know enough to begin the story, then stop writing and revert to planning when I run into a brick wall. Not the best method, but I'm too impatient to plan the entire novel and only then start writing. Ah, the joys of being a writer :D

    1. I'm trying so hard to restrain myself from jumping in too early. I did that with Everlae and got writer's block for over three months. Curious creatures, writers are, huh? Torturing ourselves day in and day out...purely because we love it. Best of luck with NaNoWriMo, I see you're doing exceptional so far!(:

  3. Haha, love the cartoon :D That was exactly what my friends were like when I told them what NaNoWriMo was, and that I was joining. How are you getting along with your planning, now? Better, hopefully. And Christopher is so adorable, lying on your plan like that :P

    1. Christopher thinks he's so much cuter than he actually is. I try to tell him otherwise, but he doesn't listen. I am much closer with my planning. I'm kind of nervous about starting, because I don't have every scene plotted, but I think I might be okay. (:


I'd love to hear your thoughts!