The What Now?

I’m starting a new novel. A chapter book, to be precise. To be even more precise, a follow-up to Duck for a Day, whose characters I love altogether too much to leave alone.

When I wrote Duck for a Day, I knew it needed to be around 8000 words (ish). So of course, I wrote 15000. Then I pruned it to 12000. Then I sent it to my long-suffering editor, and she wrote back to me and said, altogether unexpectedly, “I love this, but it really needs to be around 8000 words.”

Eventually, we got there.

This time, I have a plan. A plan to avoid writing way too much and barrelling off in the wrong direction and causing much wailing and gnashing of teeth for both my editor and myself.

A plan to make a plan.

I’m not a planner, generally. I like to just get writing and see where I end up. And that’s not going to change. But this time I’m going to at least attempt to rein in my rampant overwriting by setting off with some sort of outline and a general word count firmly in the front of my mind. There’s a handy little program called Scrivener, now in Beta for Windows (yay!) which is going to help me in this quest.

A couple of months back before everything got crazy around here with revisions for Surface Tension and insanely deadlined copyediting jobs, I began my planning for Duck #2 (*title may change). So this morning, it was with great confidence that I opened the document optimistically entitled “DuckPlan”. I had a day before me. I had a plan behind me. I could write Chapter 1, couldn’t I? I could get it done. 800 words? Easy.

What was it about again, Chapter 1? Let’s see what the plan says. Ah yes, here it is:

chapter 1 the thing happens with the ting

Good grief. Can anyone clarify?

I suspect ‘ting’ is a typo. Which means that my plan for Chapter 1 consists of “The thing happens with the thing”.

It’s a start, right?

4 thoughts on “The What Now?

  1. Kate

    Maybe you did mean 'ting' and the 'ting' is the starting bell for a great event? No? Well, it was just an idea. 😉
    Your plan to have a plan sounds like a good plan! I'm no good at plans myself. I still get carried away with new ideas that will still insist on popping up.
    Good luck!


  2. Mary Witzl

    Overwriting is my own particular cross to bear! Then I prune, tweak and trim like crazy and the result is such a sparse, terse text that I have to build up again.

    I write myself little notes when I'm in bed and have sudden inspirations about my WiP. In the morning, I look at them and see things like: 'K-T says – mothr duznt want tanic' and all day long I wonder what in the world I was trying to say.


  3. Meg McKinlay

    Mary, you and I sound very alike. Though I never prune the way you do. I am a shockingly illegible notetaker but this is the first time I've been unable to decipher my *computer* notes.



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