NaNoWriMo is a great form of motivation for many writers. And getting words down on a page is so important while writing the first draft, even if those words aren’t the best. That’s what editing’s for! The project I’m working on is the one I have planned the least. I’m very pro-planning, although there are a number of cons as well as pros.
However, I’ve realised recently that sometimes you just have to stop planning and write. Here’s why:
You are putting off starting
It was Stephen King who once said “the scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” And he’s right. Planning a novel, though not easy, is a bit of a comfort zone. You can play around with all the fun things, like choosing character names, exploring their personalities, figuring out plot twists. And I do agree that these things should all be done, especially if you’re a planner by nature. But don’t get so caught up, that you never actually start your story. It’s an easy trap to fall into.
“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” – Stephen King
Your characters will evolve
No matter how long you spend planning a character, you’ll never truly know them until your start writing their story. They evolve once they are on the page, and often assert their own authority, making choices you never thought they would. In writing you get to explore their reactions, their inner thoughts, the way they handle conflict and hardships. Planning them is all very well, but they don’t breathe until their story is being told.
Plot lines will work themselves out
Planning the plot is great, and I am somebody who really tries to do this. But it’s important not to make it too rigid, otherwise you restrict your story to stay within the boundaries you set early on. When you write the plot, much like the characters, will figure itself out. It’ll change direction, throw up new ideas, and generally fall into place.
You’ll connect with your story
As I said, the story I’m writing now is my least planned project ever. As such, I’d not really connected to the characters or the plot. But I had to start writing, because NaNo demanded it, and now, 25,000 words in, I am fully invested in the story, and in love with my characters. Sure, it took a while, but I’m not sure I’d have got there if I stopped at the planning stage.
What are your thoughts? Planner, or panster? Comment below!