Friday, August 21, 2009

Writing Plans for Novel

PHASE I--Now until after Labor Day, 1-2 hours a day available at most
  • SETTING CONSOLIDATION: [Already started.] Sort through all my various setting docs and magic ideas and such and make some decisions on what to stick with. Then consolidate info and plug it into setting docs with a specific organizational scheme: Culture (Green Kingdoms, Dragon Dominions, Awakened Cities, etc.), Subject (Art, Clothing, Food, Law, Magic, etc.), and Locations (Caprice, Rocassa, the Valley, etc.). There will be duplicate information in different places, but I will be able to look at the most pertinent document when I'm trying to recall details for a scene. For now I'm focusing just on those areas that appear in the outline I'm creating, leaving the other regions for later. This will be an ongoing process over the next few months--the goal here is to create a framework and organize what I have already created, adding ideas as inspiration strikes.
  • CHARACTER BIOGRAPHIES: [Notes collected.] Start collecting the notes I have on characters and creating brief character overviews from them.
  • PLOT OUTLINING: [Off to a good start.] Outline the new "Book One" that opens the novel, going chapter-by-chapter and scene by scene. For each scene, identify how it develops character, setting, and plot (or note if it doesn't). Look at existing notes and rough out the later chapters in the novel.
  • DEADLINE: Complete Phase I by Sept. 1
PHASE II-Once the kids are back in school
  • WORKLOAD/WRITING GOALS: If I don't have a freelance assignment, write as if my fiction were my freelance assignment, shooting for four hours a day Monday through Friday [2000 words a day target, 10,000 words per week]. If I do have an assignment, try for one hour of writing a day six days a week [500 words target, 3,000 words per week]. Stop writing before I have exhausted ideas for that scene so that I can start fresh the next session.
  • WRITING CHAPTERS: Start writing chapters in Book One. Try to finish one draft of all the chapters before beginning revisions. Send out chapters in one chunk to Aaron, Becky, Lisa, and my Mom.
  • SETTING DEVELOPMENT: Continue developing ideas for setting areas and subjects not yet addressed in the chapters but present in the outline. Do this on weekends. If I get stumped while writing scenes or chapters, keep writing by shifting to work on setting or character development docs. But this should not be the focus.
  • CHARACTER: Same as above. I expect characters to develop in their own fashion and the need for some new characters to arise as I write.
  • PLOT OUTLINING: Update outline for Book Two when I have completed a once-revised draft of Book One. Write a one paragraph and one page Snowflake outline for the entire novel.
  • DEADLINE: The ideal deadline, if I am not working on a freelance project, is Oct. 9th for completion of Phase I. The deadline goal if I am working on a freelance project is November 27th.
PHASE III--After sending out Book One manuscript to readers
  • WRITING GOALS: Same as Phase II
  • SETTING DEVELOPMENT: Take a break for a week from writing the narrative and go back and refresh all the Setting and Character documents with ideas that emerged from writing the Book One manuscript.
  • WRITING CHAPTERS: Try to write the beginning and ending chapters of Book Two first. Then go back and start writing the rest of the chapters from the beginning. Again, try to complete a first draft of all chapters before revising any of them. I expect Book Two to be roughly twice as long as Book One.
  • READER COMMENTS: Hopefully the Reader comments for Book One will arrive before I have finished the Book Two manuscript. Incorporate relevant Book One Reader Comments into revision of Book Two manuscript. When Book Two revision is complete, send outBook Two manuscript.
  • PLOT OUTLINING: Update outline for Book Three when I have completed a once-revised draft of Book Two. Revise the one paragraph and one page Snowflake outline for the entire novel as needed.
  • DEADLINE: I still need to flesh out the outline for Book Two more before I can set a better goal. Right now my estimate for the ideal goal for the Book Two deadline would be by Christmas. The working deadline goal would be by my birthday, March 3 of 2010.
Phase IV--After sending out Book Two manuscript to readers
  • WRITING GOALS: Same as Phase III
  • SETTING DEVELOPMENT: Same as Phase III
  • WRITING CHAPTERS: Again, try to write the first and last chapters of Book Three first. Then go back and continue writing from the beginning.Once complete, one stage of revision is allowed before sending the chapters out.
  • READER COMMENTS: Hopefully the Book Two Reader comments will get back by the time I have completed Book Three. If not, send out Book Three anyway.
  • PLOT OUTLINING: Create a file with plot and character issues that can continue to build from the end of the novel toward the next novel. Revise the one paragraph and one page Snowflake outline for the entire novel as needed.
  • DEADLINE: I still need to flesh out the outline for Book Three more before I can set a better goal. I also can't imagine that I will get this far without having freelance projects intervening. So the ideal estimate becomes very tenuous. Right now my estimate for the ideal goal for the Book Three deadline would be by March 3, 2010. The working deadline goal would be by May 1, 2010.
Phase V--After completing the first draft of the novel
  • REST: Take a break of a couple weeks if desired. Maybe read a couple of the guides I have on manuscript revision and novel writing during this time.
  • INCORPORATE READER COMMENTS: Do this for all three Books of the novel. Should have Reader Comments for the first two Books by this stage.
  • UPDATE SETTING & CHARACTER DOCS: Do this while incorporating the Reader comments for all the chapters.
  • MANUSCRIPT REVISION: Go through chapter-by-chapter and revise the novel as necessary for clarity, style, plot development, and so forth.
  • OUTLINING: Revise the one paragraph and one page Snowflake outline for the entire novel as needed. Create one paragraph and one page Snowflake outlines for the second novel in the series.
  • DEADLINE: See note for Phase IV. At this stage, there is no real ideal novel revision goal, because I don't know what issues will arise. So it goes back to the target goal, which is to have a full revision of the complete novel manuscript ready to send out by August 15th, 2010, which gives me anywhere from 3-5 months (cheating toward having less time as opposed to more time) to complete the draft.

2 comments:

Becky said...

It's a very specific plan. Good luck as you re-embark!!! I'm looking forward to reading.

Doug said...

Yeah, I'm trying to structure it the way I would plan a large work project, with multiple stages for reviews, updates, and such. Except one of those would be even more detailed. Trying to save that mental energy for the outlining and writing.

Don't know if it will work or if making it nominally public was a good idea or not. I'm trying to act as though I'm reporting to people other than myself as a way of fooling my mind into treating this like a freelance assignment.

Of course, most such assignments don't last more than a few months, so seeing if I can build and then sustain the focus level will be interesting.