You’ve created a blurb for your book. You’ve even created an outline. Now comes the writing.
Unfortunately, few things go according to plan. When you’re writing a book, nothing goes according to plan.
Although I know that writing a book’s a chaotic process, that doesn’t mean I like it. I’m always looking for something — anything — which will tame the chaos. Otherwise I know that I can get entangled in thickets for days, if not weeks, trying to find my way back to my original inspiration.
Here’s an idea for planning your novel which I’ve never heard discussed. This post, Taking note: Charles Dickens’ Plan Sheets, describes Charles Dickens’ plan sheets:
“On the right side dealt with the substance of the chapters. Thus he usually wrote on the top right of the sheet the name of the novel and the installment number; below the title he wrote the name of each planned chapter. In the space under each chapter he listed the most important events. The “plan sheets” varied very much, as one might expect. Some plans are very full, some remained rather empty.
It’s a simple, paper-based method, which is why it appeals to me. I can write nonfiction books on the computer, but when I’m writing fiction, I always write my first draft using pen and paper. I’ve no idea why this is, but I can’t write my initial draft at the keyboard; when I try I always end up blocked.
What do you think of Dickens’ planning method?
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