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Planning: Getting Ahead?

The other day I sent my husband a link about a program to help with plotting a novel. Actually, I was thinking a series of novels. (Slow down! Let’s not get too ahead of myself.) He studied it for a few minutes, but I could tell by his face that he was less-than enthusiastic.

“I guess,” he said, meaning I could purchase the yearly subscription if I wanted to try it. “But, this is a lot of detail.” He went on the say that I could probably use a program I already have or one that is free and accomplish the same level of structure. Then he said, “If you spend all your time doing this, won’t it take away from the actual writing?”

This nugget of wisdom is why I showed him the program before I bought it or bought into it.

By nature, I am a plotter. I plan ahead. Although my husband is not a writer by profession, he is a pantser in the way he “structures” his work. We both like the see the “big picture,” but we view that picture quite differently.

At this time of year, writers have a tendency to over-plan or under-plan. Neither one gets us to the actual writing or the completion of the project.

So, here’s my nugget of wisdom. Whether a plotter or a pantser, do a bit of both. If there’s too much plotting, get busy writing. If there’s too much pantsing, have an end result in mind. But, use the tools on-hand first before leaping into a new way of doing what is already working or might work better than something new.

Often all that’s needed is a trusty hammer for hitting a new nail on its head.

Categories: Between the Lines: This Writer's Journal

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