Planning your book. That is the most obvious and, purportedly, the most important first step when you sit down and write a novel. I respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree, though I think JK Rowling can say it better: "I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That's how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron."
This is exactly why I am averse to planning. You get attached to an idea you had or a character you created and have to write around it, even if it no longer makes sense for the story you are telling. Maybe this is just my experience and my opinion, but I feel that the characters who live in my mind and tell me their stories need to lead them. It feels more organic to me and lends me a better sense of who these characters are and who they will become; as opposed to me being the god-like figure who directs their every thought, word, and actions. Even having a general idea of the plot points I need to hit benefits from not planning. In Ascendent, I got to the important plot points in a way I didn’t expect and never would have in the first place if I had sat down and methodically planned every last bit of it.
That’s not to say that an absence of forethought doesn’t come without challenges. Writer’s block (which I think I’ll talk about next) was a prevalent part of my writing experience. There’s something to be said about knowing how to get from one thing to the next, instead of sitting at your computer for hours willing the people in your head to talk. And, when that inevitably doesn’t work, resisting the urge to throw your laptop out the window. Looking over this, I realize this all makes me sound mildly crazy; but I think it’s because Neptune conjuncts my Sun.
Anyway, I’m not trying to say my process is the best way for everyone; but it is the best way for me. If you need to have a million pages documenting the most minute details of the world and characters you created to keep you sane while writing, then you do that. If you need to be downright lackadaisical, then you do that. And if, like me, you need to be somewhere in between, then you do that. You just need to write (which is another topic for another day). As always, thank you for reading and let me know what you think in the comments. Bye!
Picture does not belong to me, but rather here.