The Necessity of the Plan

Jack Kerouac wrote “On the Road” in three weeks. I remember being told this, and the general consensus of those whom i was with believed that he wrote the book, concept to finish, during those three weeks, while taking a lot drugs. Although it is true that the story was written in three weeks, there was a lot of creative planning and thought that went into the book before hand. With his plans firmly decided upon, i’m sure he would have had no trouble finishing it in three weeks, if he did nothing but write.

Upon starting and working on the ROW80 challenge, the one thing that I am doing differently with my writing process is Storyboarding. I have never fully planned my tales. With short stories, it is a little easier. There are less characters, the word count is shorter, and my stories were never complex enough to need anything more than my head to keep track of all the ideas. I would start the story and plan as I wrote, changing things, forgetting other aspects, but it always came together in the end. For longer fiction, this old process of mine never worked.

This time around, I have begun to plan chapter by chapter. I have my base ideas, my general thoughts, but before I begin a chapter, I make lists. Who is speaking? Whose point of view? Where are they now? What information do I want to include? How much should I reveal and who should I introduce?

Bottom line, it has really helped me stay organized and has definitely freed me to write with minimal interruption. It is definitely a tip that I would recommend.


ROW80 count: 14/100

I’m staying on track so far, but not sure If I can keep up once the school semester starts to pick up.



4 thoughts on “The Necessity of the Plan

  1. I’ve had a similar experience. Until my last WIP, I pantsed every novel I started, or did a it of mostly on-the-fly planning.

    Last spring, I read Cathy Yardley’s Rock Your Plot, and thought that the concept of building containers for my scenes would be open-ended enough for my spontaneous style.

    I used parts of the method to get well into two new WIPs for July CampNaNo. I was happy enough that I spent most of October laying the foundation and building the structure for my November NaNo – and then I wrote 122,00 + words in 30 days – a complete draft!

    That was a first. It won’t be a last! It’s by far the best first draft I’ve ever written.

    May both of our words flow freely and well. I’ll be thinking productive thoughts for you as school begins again.

    By the way, your link was broken, I played with the backslashes until it worked, but thought you’d like to know!

    1. That is amazing! I have heard of the November NaNo, but have always been intimidated by it, never believing that I would be able to succeed in such a challenge. Congratulations for finishing the draft! Thank you for the support, and I wish you well as well, for all your future drafts.
      p.s. thanks for letting me know about the broken link. I’ll attempt to fix that lol

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