On Penning the New Novel

Since attending the DFW Writers Conference I have been in deep preparation and planning for my next novel.

The title is still in the works.  And the characters.  The story could use a little  ( a lot) work and I haven’t quite figured out what a Garglurk really looks like.  But it’s in the works.

Promise.

When I wrote my first two novels, which are unpublished and will remain so until I get better and come back to revive them, were ones in which I sat down and started writing.  No planning.  No thinking (okay, a little).  Just pen to paper and fast-drafted.  And you know what?  They actually turned out really good!

Sure the writing sucked and some stuff was in the wrong place but for the most part I got some really good stuff!  The problem arose near the end of the second book.  Since this was supposed to be a five book series it was kind of hard to write five books while making all five of them up as I went.  I eventually had to sit down and collaborate all the sticky notes and scraps of paper and napkins I had accumulated with ideas and begin to really form my world.

The real sobering slap in the face came at the conference when a fellow attendee asked what the tech level of  my world was.  I had always imagined something between a Tolkien  and Eragon landscape but my response came out like:

“Well—it’s kinda like, no there’s metal there.  And spires, lots of spires in that one city. But they have guns.  Sometimes.  Only when I remember to add them in.”

Pretty embarrassing.

SOOO for now I’m laying everything out.  I’m going to lay the series path out too but I’m going to try to leave a good chunk of that up to simply writing as well.  I think there are some ideas that come better on the fly.

The things I’m planning:

Setting

Currency

Tech Level (Very meticulously)

Culture

Tradition

Holidays

Weapons

Enemies

Allies

Goals

Ecology

So what style do you guys use?  Is it on the fly or super planner?  What do you plan out?   Do you think one way works better than the other?

Cheers

Sean

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4 thoughts on “On Penning the New Novel

  1. 1 Story A Week says:

    I have a hard time planning too much of my stuff in advance. It slows me down and makes me feel trapped. I plan core ideas, but I mostly write on the fly.

    I have been to the DFW Writer’s Group that hosts the workshop each year. It was interesting. It’s good to get around people who are serious about their craft and will provide honest feedback.

  2. D.B. Smyth (@DB_Smyth) says:

    I plan the major turning points (like the beginning, catalyst, midpoint, break into act 3 and end) and then write on the fly to each major point. It helps give me direction but still allows for flexibility. I can always change things later, but I’ve discovered that, for me, I at least need to know in what direction I should be headed.

    • Sean N. Fletcher says:

      That’s a perfect explanation of what I do. I find that planning difficult concepts works best so the characters won’t be reiterating themselves or saying something that contradicts an earlier statement.
      Sometimes I like not knowing what’s ahead. Sometimes.

      Are you working on anything new at the moment? I’ve been kind of sick so I’ve been in a slump. I’m still in the fleshing out process.

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