Fuck the plan

Disclaimer: if you have a plan for your writing projects/habit/hobby and it is working, then please continue to do it! Having a plan that actually works is like stroking a unicorn; you can’t believe it’s happening and most other people won’t believe you either. Hang on to that one.

But my plans are getting me away from …

Well, okay. Let’s clarify.

Last time I posted here, I brainstormed a revision plan for my novel-in-progress-for-the-last-two-years, Tallulah. The plan seemed sound to me, but I never got started with it. After talking to a friend about this and getting some very good advice, I have a new plan. It is better than the old plan, and it is better than the old plan because I don’t have to think about it.

This plan is as follows:

  • Read my manuscript
  • Read it again
  • Read it again
  • Read it again
  • Read it again and again and again
  • Read it again and again and again again until I see what needs to change, what works, what order things should go in, and what the story wants from me
  • Do that

Why is this my new plan?

Because a long time ago, right after I’d just finished my first readthrough of Tallulah, I learnt something vitally important: the best way to find out what needs to be changed, fixed or otherwise altered – and what is fine exactly the way it is – in your story is to read it.

Fucking mind-blowing, right?

Without even thinking about it, I seem to herd myself to making all the most indirect decisions possible. I think it’s probably because I can very easily get snagged on all the little surface details. The best way to find your story, in my experience, is not to look for the forest in the trees. Just walk through them, and once you’re out of the trees, you’ll know you were just in a forest. Let actual interaction and experience fill in the blanks for you. Or, in less laborious terms: learn.

My plan is, basically, to learn. I’ve already read through this manuscript before, and I made notes, and I never touched those notes again. I think it’s probably time for round 2. And I now remember what a struggle it was to talk myself into reading my manuscript the first time, and how the notes that I made were half-physical and half-digital and that’s part of why I never read over them again, so no doing that this time. Consolidated or nothing. I’ll get a notepad or something. And as for the mind-numbing repetition of reading not just the same story over and over again, but my own story over and over again … I guess I’ll just have to deal.

Hope this works.

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