I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about planning my NaNoWriMo book. Please note that thinking is the key word there. I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to take 12-ish years worth of ideas and slap them on paper as an outline that is actually of any benefit. So far, I have a list with about 40 vague bullet points that include gems such as “Childhood” and “Human sacrifice?” Yes, there’s a question mark there, don’t ask.
I thought maybe I needed some assitance. Maybe I just don’t know how to plan. I started looking up outlining tools and apps. Which, in retrospect, was silly because I own Scrivener and you can make nifty little digital bulletin boards to outline. Scrivener is great, by the way. Not that I’m taking full advantage of all the features. Mostly I look at the little e-index cards on my screen and think “Why am I filling these out? If I know what needs to go on the card, then what good does the card do?” Which I think sums up my general issue with planning. I can’t seem to convince myself of why I need to write out an outline when the outline exists in my brain. It’s not like the act of outlining itself unlocks some hidden knowledge my brain didn’t previously have access to. Or maybe it does and I don’t know because I never actually outline.
Did you ever had an English teacher who forced you to outline your writing? Well I was the student that would write the whole thing and then outline what I had already done. That is how much I despise it. For essays, I always liked to just do my research, maybe collect some quotes and facts to reference, and then start going. I think I’m pretty good at organizing things mentally so I never planned ahead. That should have been an indication to me that, in this situation, I was not going to successfully outline.
So what am I to do with this nervous energy pre-NaNo? I’ve been researching more, although I think I’m reaching the end of what new facts I can learn about the Ancient Celts that will actually be applicable to my writing. Now, if I was an outliner, I would match up my outline with a timeline of the events of Britain and Wales during the time period between roughly 40 and 60 A.D. so I would know what types of things might be influencing my characters. However, since NaNoWriMo is kind of fast and furious I’ve given myself permission to wait until my initial draft is written to go back and revise for historical context. (See? I’m doing that write first, plan later thing again)
If anyone has any tips on planning for the reluctant, I’d love to hear them. I really need something to satisfy my anticipation for the next 11 days.