There is a plan, and its name is Fret

Back on the post Instant gratification, or, Don’t blog tired., I was whining about having to take all 50000 words of the precious NaNoWriMo novel and turn them from a peculiar assortment of babble and plot-holes into a coherent, err, novel. Possibly doubling the word count in the process. (Ed, (as in pal rather than demon editor), panic not, I will keep the first draft virginally untouched. I promise. Happy now?). And of course, being me, I was feeling all panicky and inclined to lie down in a darkened room and drink martinis until the nasty world went ‘way-way. And then, Sol commented: ‘I was wondering if it would help to break the rewrites down into a series of mini deadlines or projects, because I have to say that the September one for me would be far too unweildy and large and far away to actually make me get on with it.’

This seems to me to be such astonishingly sensible advice, that I shall actually take it.

The current Plan goes therefore as follows (and is of course subject to change, or possibly vigorous deletion, without notice):

  1. Print out first draft. Have celebratory cappuccino.
  2. Sort depressingly random first draft sections into correct order. This may include use of scissors, bewilderment, and bad language. Have many, many caffeinated beverages. Get too wired to sleep.
  3. Read through freshly sorted draft, noting, in pencil, where and when matters need expanding, contracting, inserting and deleting. Firmly avoid actually writing out any of said expansions and insertion. Just note what ought to be written. Try not to rip anyone’s head right off when they interrupt to ask about, say, getting some work done and/or the ironing.
  4. Create new file on computer, labelled with the novel’s title and the ominous words ‘re-draft.’
  5. Amuse self for days creating chapter headings which quote extensively from John Donne.
  6. Realise it’s Easter already
  7. Panic.
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7 Responses to There is a plan, and its name is Fret

  1. Yogamum says:

    Oh, good, I needed a plan for my NaNoWriMo novel and now I have one! I’ve been too scared to even print the dang thing.

    Except in Step #5, I’ll be quoting from the Bhagavad Gita (it’s a book about yogis, after all).

  2. LK says:

    You have a draft — and a PLAN? Wow, you are way ahead of the game!

  3. Helen says:

    I especially like the part: “Have many, many caffeinated beverages”. That is always the pivotal section of my plans and is exactly what I’m doing at the moment… while encouraging myself to come up with a plan. Opening my writing folder might be a start.

    Hey, I’m not going holy or anything because I apply this to writing, but once a priest said to me: “Every journey begins with the first step.” I liked that advice. There is also a Spearhead song that has a line that goes something like: “Every million miles you’ve got to take a first step,” which I tack onto the end of the first saying. It’s true. I’m off to take a first step now. Yeah, OK, maybe it will be to empty the bucket of dirty water that is sitting out in the hall. But then I’ll do some writing. Just do it, as Nike (?) says.

    Put a sock in it, Helen!

  4. Sol says:

    *Dances around excitedly* Reed liked my idea! Yay! I’ll be unbearable for weeks!

    Good plan. Particularly the swearing. When it starts getting close to Easter, would you like us to kick you a bit? Not metaphorically, of course.

  5. Do people still do ironing? I’m shocked.

  6. Ironing is excellent for procrastination.

    I like the plan. For most things I do, I tend to be stuck on point 7 of your plan.

  7. Ed says:

    But when thou hast Donne, thou hast not Donne, for I have more re-drafts.

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