Do you need a plan?

I may scream if I hear one more time that you need a good plan to write a good book. Part of it that I’m sick of people telling other people that their way is the only right way to do things, part is that it is in my nature to do things my way. Even if it means reinventing the wheel sometimes.

Luckily there are writers who tell us that there is no one way to write a book. Like Claire Fuller, who’s latest book Unsettled Ground is on the Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist. It turns out that you can write a good book without a plan. That’s what Claire Fuller has to say about planning and research:

I personally don’t do any planning or research before I start writing. This is how I started writing my first novel and I thought it was the wrong way to write, but I kept going because I didn’t know any other way. By the time I started my second novel, I just thought this is how I write, and it works for me. There’s no right or wrong way, so do what works for you.

I will eventually incorporate planning, but my way of planning is to write a scene, without really knowing who the people are or what’s happening. I then find because I have written that scene, there will always be some consequences for the next and I can write the outcome. Each scene feeds the next, so you are building on what you have created before.

And then there’s Cathy Rentzenbrink, who speaks to my heart.

I’m not a linear thinker and the thought of having to create a plan makes me want to weep. It’s not that I don’t want to, but that I can’t. For me it’s the act of writing itself that dislodges meaning and shows me where the story is. I just have to start out and trust that once I have some words on the page they will start to make sense and form themselves into patterns and themes. They always do!

There are so may ways to get to place you want to get to. Don’t let others tell you that your way is wrong. Do what feels right for you.


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