As we’ve seen in recent posts, planning is a vital part of writing material to tight deadlines – but still keeping proper structure.
That’s vital in a contest such as National November Writing Month, where the pressure is on to produce 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s also vital in the profession, where authors usually end up working to tight commercial and publisher deadlines (and trust me, it’s professional to meet them – people who enjoy hearing the sound of deadlines whistling by also don’t usually enjoy repeat business from publishers).
But what happens when you’re half-way through your NaNo draft, or something else with production-to-time pressure, and the proverbial Good Idea roars in?
A tidal wave of an idea – an idea that re-jigs plot and character and that must, must, must be worked in.
What do you do? Well, the answer is to do it – but in a way that doesn’t derail the output-to-time calculation.
That means re-planning. Carefully. A few hours spent doing that can pay dividends keeping the book on track and keeping to that deadline – all without derailing the structure that modern works must have if they are to be readable (saleable) to a reasonable –scale market.
It’s not quite the same as planning from scratch, because there will already be a chunk of story in existence. Questions to ask include:
- How much of this can be saved? Revised?
- What scale of work (time) is needed to do this?
- Would it be quicker to throw it out and start again anyway, this time knowing you can probably write faster because of the practise with the discarded half-draft?
This sort of planning, then, isn’t just an exercise in creativity – it’s also an exercise in practical productivity. And that’s a challenge professional writers have to face all the time. NaNo is a great practise for it.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015