Wednesday, 16 September 2015

I’ve gone over to the dark side

I’ve had to have a break from my writing; from my life. Personal reasons.

Feels like I lost myself over the last few weeks while dealing with these other issues, but I’m ready to find me again. I’ve had a story gestating in my head while I’ve been out of action and now, raring to go, I realise that this new story is perhaps more complete than is usual for me at the pen-poised stage. With this in mind, I’m going to try some proper planning.

“Nooo! Don’t do it!” screams the rebel voice in my head.

“But I have to; I need to,” I argue. “Splurging was all right for a novice, but I know what I’m doing now”  ...ahem... “and I haven’t got time for the inevitable rewrites involved in the make-it-up-as-you-go-along method.”

“Yes, but the story is ready to go,” reasons impatient Rebel. "What planning could you possibly need to do?”

I give that some thought. And while I’m thinking, a subliminal suggestion is planted in my brain by another (currently more successful and utterly brilliant) writer friend. Download Scrivener, she suggests. So I do.

I spend thirty minutes getting to grips with how it works (the recommended tutorial is two hours; torture for Mrs Impatient) and then I type my synopsis into the page.

This is when I realise there is still a lot of research to do, and a lot of ideas to amass. I need to know ‘stuff’; like, lots of stuff because this book is going to be very deep and meaningful. I'm thinking Man Booker, Pullitzer... that kind of thing. I'm thinking location location location (for the movie rights) and of course, I need to get properly acquainted with my characters. I want to eavesdrop on their conversations and find out how they feel, what they think, what their unusual but adorable quirky habits might be; I need to know what they want to do with their lives. 

(If I'm honest, this isn't very far from what I do normally. Except that normally I have a jumble of files, spread across my desktop and tend to forget what, when, who, how and where everything is.)

And I need to road test a few of the important scenes...

“What? Writing out of sequence? Have you completely lost the plot?” screams Rebel...

And that’s when it hits me. “No!” I answer. “Far from it. I have discovered the plot! I am liberated from writing in the metaphorical dark.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. Scrivener is just an organising tool. You are a creative; you don’t need to be organised...”

I turn back to Scrivener, import some links, videos, pictures; make some notes, play with the order of chapters, admire the cork board... 

Rebel is losing the argument. 

Three days in, and I’m creating files right, left, and centre; finding ways to make sense of my writing preambles, my research, my ideas. And I'm writing too - yer actual story. There is a place for everything and everything is in its place.

Suddenly I realise, I am utterly lost to the Splurge method. Planning has gained a convert.


  1. Nooooooooooo Wendy! Am I to be left alone in Splurgeville?

    1. Sorry, but yes! Planning is the new black. :D


Thanks for commenting.