A discussion on one of the KindleBoards forums/fora last week caught my eye. The original poster asked whether you need to have a plan before you start writing.

The responses (predictably) ranged from ‘yes I plan everything out in advance’ to ‘plotting kills novels’. Interesting. One of the respondents mentioned the Snowflake method, which I’ve just read up on and which sounds as though it might be useful.

Like most first-time novelists, I didn’t have a well-thought-out plot for The Roman and the Runaway. By the time I got down to writing it in earnest in 2007, I realised that I only had half a novel (part one of the book as it is now). Those were the scenes I had been carrying in my mind for the previous twenty years. It was another year and a half before I got past that road-block and was able to write parts two and three.

My metaphor for the process of writing the last two parts is that it felt like I was doing a brass-rubbing. The story existed but was hidden and I needed to work hard to reveal the details of it, which were revealed, line by line.

I’m working on a sequel when time allows (which is not often!). This story has a central idea and I’ve written a number of scenes (around 17,000 words) but there is, as yet, no detailed plot. I’m comfortable with that, because it’s my hobby and there’s no rush for this story to be finished. I can imagine that if I was writing to deadlines and had a publisher demanding to know where the sequel was, then it would be much more important to have those detailed plans in place and be writing to meet them.

Sounds a lot less fun, though.