Start with a plan. Stick to the plan. Where possible, improve the plan. This is my current mode of operation.
The plan is to write the second draft of my Novel ‘The Fractured Isle,’ and make it better than the first draft. Currently, I think I’m on target with this. I decided that setting a deadline would help me in my perpetual struggle against procrastination. NaNoWriMo 2014 and its aftermath taught me about making realistic goals, which I bore in mind when setting out my writing road map.
The plan became this: Write the second draft in three stages, and make it roughly twice as long as the first draft. I wanted to write part one in February 2016, part two in April 2016 and part three in June 2016. Then, use July 2016 to add any extra bits that might be needed. It’s now May 2016, and I have just over 60,000 words. Parts one and two are done, so I am officially on track. At this point, I have started with my plan, and so far, I have stuck to it.
That brings me onto the part where I improve the plan if possible.
I’m using George Orwell’s idea of double think here. I’m writing for the love of it, not to get published. That means I don’t put too much pressure on myself. At the same time, I’m writing my novel to get it out into the world, which means, getting it published. But I’m not doing that, because then there’d be pressure, and I’d crush my creativity with that line of thought. Round and round the circle goes.
Why’s this important to improving the plan? Because it’s made me up my second draft deadline to the end of June. Taking part in both NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo have been huge boosts to my productivity. I was originally going to aim for 10,000 words for July’s Camp, a third of my April goal (which I achieved). However, I’ve now changed my mind.
If I ever want people to read my fantasy book and enjoy it, I need to invite them into the fictional world that it’s set in. There are still some pretty big gaps in the geography of my made up island nation of Serevan. So I’m going to try and spend July filling them in, which will hopefully benefit my eventual third draft. My plan is now to have my second draft wrapped up beforehand, and then write 30,000 words worth of short stories for Camp NaNoWriMo. These will take place throughout Serevan, and be set in the years that precede the story.
That way, I can come up with more characters (if I decide I need them), and explore more of my world as I do so. ‘The Fractured Isle,’ is only set in one part of Serevan, largely in and around a city called Squall’s Folly. However, potential sequels will take my characters elsewhere in the country. It would be nice if there were believable locations for them to go to when they venture forth.
If I survive the ‘Pure enjoyment/Want to publish’ paradox, I might even think about self publishing the short stories if they’re any good. If I made them available, they could make a nice introduction to my fictional world, and pique the interests of potential readers.