Going Down the Rabbit Hole… of Planning

Yesterday, I had the first Young Writers Group at the Maffra library. There were four young writers in attendance and we had a lot of fun.

As is common in these groups, talk turned to writing a novel. A few participants talked about their planning and how they have detailed plans for characters and they have built their world, complete with system of government, religions, and so on. Then I asked how much of their story they had written…

Here’s the thing, they had got so caught up in their planning, they hadn’t written their story… yet!

My challenge to these young writers was

This is something I hear a lot, especially with younger writers who are finding their writing style.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the planning that you don’t end up writing your story. You can create the most amazing world, write the most detailed character profiles you can imagine, and research every aspect of your story, however if you don’t actually write the story, then you’re no closer to getting your book written than you were before.

There are some writers who create detailed plans before they write, and this works really well for them. There are some writers who just sit down and write and create their world and characters along the way, and this works really well for them. Both methods get the story written.

For those of you starting out, be careful not to get so caught up in the planning and going down the rabbit hole of research that you never get around to actually writing your story!

This has happened to me, that I research so much that the story stays untouched, however I gain a lot of knowledge on a particular topic… and, years later, the story still isn’t written.

If you feel yourself going down the rabbit hole, but you’re not ready to tackle your novel, try writing some short stories or random scenes based in your world with your characters. These may help to reveal aspects of your characters’ personalities that you may not have thought of, or even find something in your world that had been hiding somewhere. These snippets may make it into your novel, or may turn out to be great things to promote your book, or turn into a short story collection based in your world, or they could simply be useful exercises to start the writing process.

Have you ever found yourself going down the planning/research rabbit hole with your stories?

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About Melissa

Melissa Gijsbers started writing when she was in High School during the 1990s, even winning some awards for a short story and a script. For many years, life got in the way of creative writing, however she did start blogging around 2006.

She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with her two sons and a pet blue tongue lizard.

Melissa Gijsbers, Author, Speaker & Booklover
Melissa Gijsbers - Author, Speaker & Booklover
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