Jan 15, 2010

Learning to Plan, Planning to Learn by Sarah Parker

My name is Sarah Parker, and I'm pleased to be meeting you! I've written six novels in the last three years, though none are published. I am embarking on a journey of discovery where I re-learn the ropes of writing. Welcome to the ride! I'm an apprentice wordsmith, exploring ideas and systems to help me to do what I like to do best - write!

I read on Lisa Dempster's blog recently that the trick to being successful is to identify the things you like doing, and then find ways to get to do them. I've learnt a lot about how I write in the last few years, and about which parts give me the most pleasure. I learnt that I love wordcounts, and that I love the creative process of writing. I learnt that it can take me a while to really get going, but once I am fully immersed in writing a novel, I am on fire. I call it dancing on the precipice - a heady whirlwind of excitement and creative fervour, consuming all of my time, energy and emotion. This is the best part of writing novels to me right now, and this is the part I want to work on reaching more often!

To attain this goal, I am currently working very hard on learning how to plan, plot and construct before I start work. I am learning to create a skeleton around which to build flesh. The parts of the novels that excite me the most end up being the parts that are more well rounded, well thought out and developed within the finished draft, so I want to create a system whereby I get to do some of this in advance, rather than during the creative process. I like to fantasize favourite scenes, imagining every detail, every word, every action, until it's concrete in my head, and then I pour words onto the page. I hope to be able to make conscious decisions about points of view, plot, characters, pacing and tension before I allow my creative mind release.

I'm doing this by workshopping ideas before I start work, by reading critically, and learning from it. I'm doing this by writing out far more plot ideas, character ideas, world building ideas and beginnings than I can possibly use, and examining the way I construct them and how people respond to the ideas within them. I am doing this by communicating with others who understand my language.

Every one has different habits they are trying to stop, or change, or manage differently. I'm trying to learn new ways to prepare for novels, so I'm less of a pants-er and more of a planner. What habits do you have that you wish to change, and what are you doing about them?


Sarah Parker writes erotica and fantasy novels, has far too many blogs and journals and likes to write fast. Currently she is working on a fantasy trilogy. She has a short story published in Menage A Trois, but is more comfortable working on novel length stories. She is also a part of the Last Short Story Project. She writes as SarahP on the Saucy Sisters blog, Celestine Lyons for her wordcounts, Cali0pe for her garden tracking, Callisto Shampoo for her every day thoughts, and here as Sarah Parker.

1 comment:

  1. I'm also focusssing on learning to plan. Right now I'm doing character sketches inpreparation for the new work - something I've never done before.