I had been fooling myself into thinking that I was immune to the planner craze; that I wouldn’t buy a fancy file folder or spend hours decorating the pages. Then I found myself designing these stickers. My justification was that if I had a few cute, custom stickers, I wouldn’t spend so much time (oh, minutes and minutes) highlighting important notes and writing in weekly tasks over and over again. I was sold. Did I enable you too?
I’ve covered plot holes before, but this worksheet is to help you specifically with the type of chronological lacuna that I fall into most often: mistakes arising from remembering which characters know what when. These errors are difficult to spot and can have some profound effects on the plot, so it’s worth keeping track of them, especially if you intend to take a break from a project. Fill this worksheet in now and keep it in your story binder!
Writing a novel may be hard, but finishing it is much harder!
novelling take-aways & suggestions
1. Make sure you LOVE your idea. Especially if you’re writing a series.
The germ for a series needs to be strong enough to set you alight with excitement; it needs to be something that you feel like you could spend your whole life exploring. That’s how I feel about reinterpreting the Victorians in my steampunk series, Flora Victoriana. Way back when I first had the idea, I started out with a list of my favourite things (I have a writing worksheet for that!) many of which will work their way into the series:
What if you realise that you don’t love your idea as much as you did in the beginning? I have two suggestions for you:
Meg Cabot gave this advice way back in a NaNoWriMo pep talk, and I’ve quoted it before: “Think about what made you fall in love with your work-in-progress in the first place.”
Is it really the idea or is it you?
Combine your once-beloved idea with something else you love. For example:
Will she find out before it’s too late? Will they ever be able to set aside their differences? Will it work? Will he get caught? Will the girl give the game away? Will the dog manage to get help? Can they hold on for long enough? Will his grandfather apologise? Will the human race survive? Will the engine start? Is she still alive? Will they escape? Who’ll win? How will it happen? How’s it gonna end? What if it all goes terribly wrong?