Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Getting back to basics

Before rushing into another re-write or starting another project I am taking a bit of time out to study. Following on from my 'Can a pantser become a plotter?' post and having received my NWS report, I think the answer is, in my case, yes, you need to become a plotter.

Many of the points for improvement in my report may well have been solved if I'd started out with better plans. I've just finished reading Elizabeth George's Write Away. It's an excellent read and I haven't quite got round to comprehending all the advice (I will be rereading in the future.) It is a book that advocates planning and I can see why, in a project on the scale of a novel, you need to plan to some extent. Because this novel wasn't planned, in a kind of retro fitting, I've tried to add the pace at a later stage and it shows.

So I need to learn how to plot in advance and work on developing characterisation ahead of starting the project. To help me to learn how to do this I am going to go back to the start of this novel and write out character sheets and a new plot. Its an exercise I feel I will learn from ahead of going onto the next project.

I'm also reading up on the craft. I have library books galore that I have dipped in and out of but I taking a couple of weeks to do some solid reading. Alongside text books, I'm reading books by authors my reader recommended. I know it will be helpful but I will be despairing at the fact I will never be up to those standards.

All of this is an attempt to get a tighter grip on the basics, in the hope it will benefit me long-term. I'm sure it will. I'll try and ignore the self-doubt that creeps up inbetween!

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