Planning and Plotting

I'm at an interesting point right now. For the last couple of years I've been trucking away on the trilogy. I had a plan. I knew what I needed to write next. I knew where one book ended, I had a very clear direction and a plan. I also had Ascent of the Fallen tucked in there. It had been an idea born in traffic on a miserable March day on a school bus filled with 8th graders who's just woken up from their Romeo and Juliet length nap. There too, I had an idea. I changed the direction a few times, but I still had a plan.

Now, not so much. There's no plan. There's no clear successor to my time waiting in the wings. There are no characters I know as well as myself stalking me, tapping me on the shoulder and insisting that I write their stories NOW! I have a few new characters, but we're still in the "getting to know you" stage. I don't really know them, I don't know what they want or need, or where they will eventually go. I have vague plans on three different projects, but no clear direction. There's something about 20,000 words that just stymies me. I'm cruising until then and I hit a wall. Slam! These characters are just sort of standing around shuffling their feet, trying not to look at me. It's like when I know my kids haven't been paying attention and I ask them a question. They all get so interested in the tops of their desks. Remember that? Trying to become one with the desk so the teacher doesn't see you? Yeah. It doesn't work, by the way.

I suppose I'll give them a little more time to stew. Fiddle and flip between the different stories. One of them will eventually start to talk to me. Or, it'll be Christmas Break and I'll get in there and start kicking butts. For the moment, though, I'll let them develop. I think they need a little more time on the back burner. Though I am getting a little ancy. I might need to write a short story or two with some of my old characters, just to stay in shape, as it were.


  1. Rebecca, all the novels and short stories I have completed were begun with three things in mind. 1) The characters and the story's premise. 2) A defined purpose/goal to be achieved by said characters. 3) The conclusion/final destination. Without these in mind, I won't type a word. I ignored this set of rules earlier this year and wasted at least a month's worth of work, abandoning the stories that went nowhere. So, yes, keep your characters in mind and figure out their purpose before you go on a writing spree with no destination in mind.

  2. There's just something about 20,000 words. It's my wall for every story. Then I have to struggle and work it all out and the rest of the book just flows.

  3. I understand what you mean. Have fun with it.


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