Unplanned rant on planning


Hello wonderful world of folks that haven’t heard from me in over a month!
Word count: 59675 (10132 more since last post. Target of 59637 for 4/17 or… this week goal of 64637 – yes I am slacking this week)
Progression: On chapter 13… posted Ama in the new world and now need to write Leah.
I have revised my goals for writing since I last posted. I had originally reset them to 2K, but I did the math (yeah I am a business analyst so I always look for efficiencies and target dates) and I need to write 5K words a week to end at 150(ish)K words by September.
Why September? Well I figure that it will take me a good month to do my first revision, then a second for my next (hopefully final) revision. This will allow me to send for submissions to Tor and DAW in Nov maybe Dec.
Wait, I thought you were going to self publish? Yes, well… I decided I at least want to see what publisher’s think. Even if I do not go with them.
Also, I will have to rewrite dates in my book to match whatever year it is when I actually do go to publish. As it stands, I will need to rewrite it already as I am going to be a year behind.
I also figure I might get up to 200K words for the book, which will mean November is when I stop writing. That will push by my submission/publishing time line, and hence my book’s, as well.
All of that being said, now we get to my post/rant. First, I want to congratulate my brother on his first book – no it is not fiction, unless you think coding (or whatever it is called) for Cisco is fictional. Congrats Alex! I am truly happy for you and wish you the best in life.
Second, my mom found my blog. So, I really was going to tell her about it, I know she doesn’t believe me, but I am shy – which she should fully know – and very… introverted. I wanted to surprise her with at least my first draft, my blog being a lot more read than it is currently, and maybe some fancy website. Fat luck. My mom google’d me. And now she can see just how much I cuss. Which is actually a lot less on this blog than in real life.
I can still remember the first few times I cussed around her, as an adult. It was quite awkward.
Third, my idiot brother, the younger one, decided it would be a good idea to do some really stupid ass shit. Needless to say, I was a wreck for a week – I can’t even imagine what my mom was going through – and his little punk ass is fine… thankfully. Do not get me wrong, I love him, even if I haven’t seen him in years, but when I see him again, I am likely to hit him. I am about 2K miles away, and had no means to fly out to be with him. I was very afraid he would die before I actually got to see him again.
Enough sadness. I will get to a point here.
To anyone that is starting out writing, or just wants to hear some writing advice, start reading here.
Planning. It sucks, it is tedious, and boring (sometimes). But it is absolutely necessary, and it will likely get thrown out the window as you start writing. I had an original idea of how my books would flow, but now? Yeah, well let’s just say that my plan was that the first 3 chapters would be the set up, and chapter 4 would be the start of my MC (main character IE Amadel) arriving in the magical kingdom. I thought this would be maybe 30-50 pages (@ 350 words per page = 10.5K to 17.5K) Here I am on chapter 12 where she is just now in the kingdom, and I am sitting at 60K (171 pgs).
(BTW, it is extremely difficult to get an exact answer on the pages. I googled/binged a few sites before I just took the max and went with the 350 average words per page in a fantasy novel. I have seen anywhere from 250-350.)
Added to that, I had planned on a meeting between her and another MC (Leah), and now I think I will be completely rewriting that. Basically, Amadel and Leah were to meet, get captured, and Amadel escapes but Leah doesn’t. Now, it seems like the character (Leah) is already ‘captured’ and they will not meet. I haven’t fully decided how that will go, or if I will try to force it back to my original idea. Somehow.
Now, all of that mess out of the way, let me say that there are some people that can plan out each chapter and just speed right on along. Kudos to them, and I am jealous.
I have done this to an extent, but I am leaving it open now. Too many things are speeding through my mind because of the changes to my flow/plot. So now I am ‘stuck’ trying to figure out where to go, and I have 5K words to write by Sunday. Yay.
I think the hardest part is just choosing. I see it in forums all the time where people just don’t know which option as both could do 10 billion different paths.
So even though I have tried and (mostly) failed to plan, I still advocate it. I say this because if I had not thought through and planned the first few chapters, I would still be stuck trying to figure out how to start the damned thing.
But beyond flow of the story, there is also world building, historical data, etc.
I said it best on the FWO site, so I will say it again here:
Well, I knew from the start my book would be the first of a series. This is mostly because it is so vast, but also because I am literally planning it out. I know key points of things that will be happening – I have a giant timeline on my wall – and they are constantly changing as I hammer out the path for the first book. The other issue, is that I am running into two different ‘timelines’ – earth years, and fantasy realm (Lenaeu) years 1:132. So when one year passes on Earth, 132 have passed on Lenaeu. It is quite difficult to plot it all out.
I will say that at first, I just wrote. I did not care about the timelines or anything, I just needed to get it going. Now, I know that I need to keep certain things back or bring other items forward because of foreshadowing and pacing.
To sum it up, I have 6 main bubbles, each roughly equates to one book. Under each bubble, I have several hundred smaller ones. I know certain things will be happening (6 main), but I have changed things around so some of the small bubbles move between books. In fact, I had to take about 70K words and push them to book 3 as I found I had so much more to say before that bit even happened.
As for worldbuilder’s disease, I think as long as YOU need it to determine how to do a particular bit, and not sound like an idiot (lack details), have at it. Yet at the same time, if you spend ten days researching weather patterns over eastern Cambodia because it matches the weather in your story, and then you look into their rainfall, humidity, and the effect it has on the toad population, etc… well, you have caught the bug. But that is not to say that maybe your world revolves around weather? Sanderson’s Mistborn is actually a great example of when you need to do ‘some’ of that kind of research.
I found it perfectly acceptable that I spent two maybe three days on researching and making ciphers because it was direly important. Sure, I could just have a magical encoded book, but where is the fun in that? Why not have something that is not too often found in fantasy? It fits the person who wrote the cipher, and it helps to draw out a mystery.
As for one shoe, if you find my other one, please tell it that I promise to polish it and repair it’s sole if it just comes home… I’m tired of hobbling around all the time.
I went off on a tangent.  <fin>
So… planning. It really does help. Just like I didn’t plan this post so it is all kinds of random.