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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Some Thoughts on Planning

It is at this point in the writing process that I begin to seriously reflect back on all the planning that I did to prepare for writing this installment of the series. I am a major believer in planning when it comes to novel writing! I didn't used to be because I thought that it constricted the writer and the creative process, but I now realize that it actually gives the writer greater freedom. Just because I have crafted an outline ahead of time doesn't mean that I have to stick to it to the letter, but it gives me a base to come back to if a spontaneous thread takes me off in a different direction for a while. Plus which, especially when writing a series of books that all have to work as a coherent and consistent story at the end of all things, if you don't know where you are going before you start writing, how on earth can you know how to get there? I have already added two new chapters that were not on my outline, but always I come back to that outline, saying to myself, "okay, I need to bring it back to this point, and this needs to come somewhere after that," etc... Yes, I will have to do a little reinventing of the structure of a few things along the way, but at least I have a framework from which to work and to which I can always return. I've been reading the book Harry Potter's Bookshelf: The Great Books Behind the Hogwarts Adventures by John Granger, and in it, he quotes J. K. Rowling on this topic. She said in an interview with the South Australia Advertiser, "I do a plan. I plan, I really plan quite meticulously. I know it is sometimes quite boring because when people say to me, 'I write stories at school and what advice would you give me to make my stories better?' And I always say and people's faces often fall when I say, 'You have to plan,' and they say, 'Oh, I prefer just writing and seeing where it takes me.' Sometimes writing and seeing where it takes you will lead you to some really good ideas but I would say nearly  always it won't be as good as if you sat down first and thought: Where do I want to go, what end am I working toward, what would be good, a good start?" (Qtd. on p. 61) Sounds like pretty good advice to me!

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