Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Time Management Tuesday: Will Extensive Planning Speed Up Writing?

First off, I'd like to report that I have a family member who made the 50,000 word point with his NaNoWriMo project this past weekend. He figures he needs to write 30 percent more to finish the story, because, guess what? Fifty-thousand words isn't necessarily a complete story. But he hit his word goal with days to spare.

Now, I didn't have a word goal, you will recall. I was working with material from my 2004 NaNoWri Mo attempt. What I was "hoping to have by the end of November is not a completed draft, but the prep work so that I can write a draft in the future." And, no, I'm not quite there. But I do have a lot more on this project than I had on November 1.

No Excuses. Instead Here's How I Used My Time.

Some time management writers claim that a "Done List" is as important, or more so, than a "To Do List." So what did I actually get done this month?

Before Wading
  • Waded through twelve years of notes I'd made and clippings I'd been saving relating to this story. I thought I had them organized and would be able to discard most, but something happened last week that leaves me uncertain and now I'm clinging to them a little longer.
  • Finished rereading Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock, which I'd been thinking of in relation to a writing project for years, years I tell you, and in relation to this project for a while. I was disappointed, decided I couldn't use it after all, and then swung back and thought maybe I could.
  • Came up with a specific setting for the story. The 2004 manuscript had nothing at all in terms
    After Wading
    of setting.
  • Came up with stronger characterizations for Lori and Margo, my two main characters, and a reason for their relationship.
  • As a result of all the wading through that paperwork, I stumbled upon something that led to a crisis to drop in Lori and Margo's laps.
  • Came up with a narrative voice related to Sunshine Sketches (see above).
  • Began arranging eight chapters, with material from 2004 redistributed and notes for things that could still happen at each spot 
  • I have an ending for this story, something I don't think I've ever had for a writing project at this point. 
  • I have a theme for this story, something I know I've never had for a writing project at this point.


No Excuses. Here's How I'm Going To Use My Time

December is a ridiculous time to get much done, particularly for people who don't have a job that involves a structured schedule with a supervisor to report to. Personal lives gush right into professional lives. So I'm going to use whatever writing time I have over the next month to continue tinkering with this project, with a goal of finishing some kind of an outline by New Year's Eve. Like an ending, an outline is something I've never had before starting writing. And that, lads and lasses, I'm hoping will make a difference in the time it takes me to write my first draft.

A "To Do" List is still useful for some people, particularly when you expect you won't have as much time as you'd like. Mine looks like this:

  • Finish the initial planning of chapters. I'm thinking there could be as many as twenty-one. Or, you know, not.
  • Use the blueprinting plan to develop those chapters.
  • Plan the changes that need to occur for each chapter.
  • Plan scenes within chapters, particularly their relation to action, character, or theme.

If this goes on until the end of December, I'll have worked a couple of months on the planning for this project. (Though, not really, since holidays, family issues, and a new obsession with following pre- and post-election coverage have been very distracting so far. Oops. Those are excuses.) Will this have an impact on my time when I'm actually ready to write?

Dun, dun, duuuuuuh.                                                                                                                

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