The birthday celebrations continue! If you missed the previous posts, check them out here, here and here. If not, please read on…
Planning Stately Pleasures
As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, it took a while for me to make the jump from short stories to novellas, then from novellas to novels. I was worried that I didn’t have enough “story” to warrant a novel, or that it would get boring, or that I’d get bored.
But when the time came for me to start working on Stately Pleasures, I decided there was only one way to find out—I’d have to get on with it. With short stories, I never bother planning as they often just come from a small idea and I then write and see what happens. But this couldn’t be the case with a novel, I could end up meandering through a story, have no actual plot, or something equally horrendous. So, to ensure I wrote a full-length book which had plot, journeys for the characters, continuity and lots of hot sex, a plan was needed.
I know writers work in many different ways when it comes to planning, but I went back to being somewhat old-fashioned. In a brand new notebook (any excuse) I started scribbling. Then I shuffled things around, crossed things out, added things and finally had twenty (I think – I don’t have the notes any more) chapters planned out, with a beginning, a middle and a satisfying (I hope) ending.
Once that was done, I had no excuse. I had to get on with it—and so I did. It was much easier having the plan there, although I knew I wouldn’t stick to it 100%–if things changed it wasn’t an issue. It just meant that once I’d finished a chapter, I could look at the notebook and know exactly where the story was going next. There were no moments of indecision, of wondering what was going to happen next, how the characters were going to get from A to B, and why.
That’s not to say it wasn’t hard work. It was, very much so. I’d been used to being able to write a short story in a couple of days—a very quick and satisfying thing. A novel, of course, takes much longer, so the satisfaction of finishing is much further away. But far from being disheartened by this fact, I let it spur me on. Each word, each chapter I completed was another step closer to the end. And the more I wrote, the more I was determined to get it finished and not see the work I’d already done go to waste.
And, obviously, I got there! I think it took me roughly four months, which I don’t think was too bad considering that included the planning and a little extra research, and that it was my first full-length novel. I also don’t write full-time. I was very proud of my achievement, although I knew it wasn’t the end of the work! More information on Stately Pleasures’ route to publication in the next post.
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Be sure to stop by on the 23rd for the fifth and final birthday post!