Retroactive Planning

Long time followers of my blog will know I'm a pantser.  Plotting before I write isn't something I do beyond making a few minimal notes.  And as much as I love all you plotting planners out there who use spreadsheets and epic timelines and notebooks and post-its before you sit down to write you awesome stories... I can't.  I just can't.  I want to.  I want to be super organised.  But as soon as I try, I am overwhelmed by frustration.  "No!" Pantser!Cole yells.  "This will not do! Less planning, more writing!" And that's how I write a draft - with little clue of how I'll get from start to finish but muddling my way through nonetheless.
I plan when I reach the editing phase.   I make notes of what needs changing where, link early changes to things that require rewriting later in the plot and create detailed character charts.

My whiteboard really makes itself useful during my retroactive planning/editing phase.


I also have special notebooks dedicated to the editing phase.  They include notes on what needs work, and drafts of scenes, query letters and short versions of the synopsis.

And the manuscript itself becomes part of my retroactive planning! I leave notes on the digital and paper copies as I write/edit, highlighting areas in particular need of work or remind myself of changes I need to make to the plot.  And as ideas occur to me for changes or rewrites, I scribble them down on post-its and keep them in convenient locations.

There are worse addictions to have, okay!

So to the super organised among you, I salute you! For now, my messy way works for me.

Comments

  1. Waah, such cute stickies! *want*

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    1. Some are from India, and some are from a shop called Paperchase ^_^

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  2. I am also not a planner (although I hate the term 'pantser' and tend to prefer 'discovery writer' instead). I once planned a novel out carefully; every scene, every sub plot, every character. Then I started writing and by about 15,000 words the characters had taken over and deviated so far from my plans that I realised I had just wasted a month planning!

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    1. Yeah, that's another issue I have with planning! I *think* I've got it all worked out but the plot decides otherwise ;)

      Discover writer. I like it!

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  3. As a planner-pantser hybrid, I love this idea for editing! Over at YA Muses last week, they shared some great revision tools, with ideas similar to yours (especially useful for pantsers, and hybrids like me). Keep the tips coming!
    Look at me--I commented!! *does the comment dance*

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  4. Now I want to go buy cute things for my editing. :)

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  5. You use notes and a whiteboard? Real pantsers just write. :)

    That said, being a pantser myself, the idea of making notes after the first draft is a good idea that I might just take up.

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    1. I find it quite helpful. There's only so much I can remember ^_^

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