I asked a couple of weeks ago for writing-related questions and Rebecca asked:
How much planning do you do before you start writing a new novel?
When I thought about answering, I thought ‘none’, but that’s not really true. I don’t do much planning on paper, not before I start writing anyway, but I do do a lot of planning in my head.
I usually know the names of the characters and what they look like. I also know where they live (setting is very important to me). I have a very small snippet of what the book will be about, for example for DELLA SAYS: OMG I knew it was about Della feeling inferior to her sister and insecure around boys. For JESSIE ♥ NYC I knew it was about a boy who was in love with his best friend’s girlfriend. With the book I’m about to start editing (working title HAPPY ENDING, but that has smutty connotations so will have to change) I knew it was about a girl feeling trapped in a small town and the “big world” coming to her rather than her having to go out into it (I say I “knew” that, but I actually only just articulated it just now, which is why the last sentence isn’t very articulate!).
But what I didn’t know with Della for example is who had taken her diary. I was probably three quarters through writing the book – and starting to panic – before I worked it out.
I wish I could sit down and plot out each chapter because then I would know what I was writing next instead of all the flailing I do, but when I’ve tried to plot it just hasn’t worked out for me. I much prefer to just see what comes up as I write. No matter how much I moan about it.
What about you? Plotter or pantser?