My plan has a couple components to it, and as I go forward, I’m allowing it to be flexible and malleable, yet at the same time, I’m keeping the end goal(s) strongly in mind. The first part of the plan is rather simple and while I’m finding it to be very enjoyable, it’s quite time-consuming. April 2012 was the last time I sent part of book 1, The Hidden, to any potential agents, and that was probably about the last time I had the opportunity to really look at the book. So, for the next several weeks (months?), I’m rereading and lightly editing book 1 for at least three reasons. First, I need to get “reacquainted” with my characters and the overall story. I finished the first chapter this past weekend and man…the sentiments I’ve held for these characters are back, big time. Now, if you have not written a short story or novel, it may sound kind of weird to hear me say how much I care for the inhabitants of my stories, but yeah…I and pretty much most fiction writers do develop definite emotions for the worlds and the people we create. As I worked this past weekend, I found myself smiling and laughing several times and thinking of my two main characters, “If they only knew what was coming…” I know what’s coming, of course, well, for the most part as good characters can and should take on a life of their own, and in many ways, mine have. Still, I know what’s going to happen to, for and in these characters and I look forward to seeing again how they, and I, react.
I’m also rereading book 1 so that I can check the story’s internal consistency, and maintain the overarching story-lines when I move on to book 2, the direct continuation. I started book 2 a few years ago and have written 75 or 80 pages. I stopped working on it in part to focus on finding an agent; I also stopped because I figured any agent or publisher will want to make changes to book 1 and those changes would most certainly affect book 2, so I felt that I shouldn’t go too deeply into it at that time. Well, my feelings on the latter reason for suspending book 2 have changed and I’ve decided to keep going forward while the fire is hot. (Another reason I set aside book 2 was so that I could start and complete a short story called Marked, and so that I could begin work on another, unrelated novel… More on all of this at a later date.)
Of course as I go, I’m also reading for content, emotion, setting, grip, flow, logic, etc.
Though I’m pleased with what I’ve been reading of book 1 and how I’m feeling and thinking about my characters again, I need to find a way to accelerate the process. Right now, I’m only able to write on Saturday and Sunday afternoons for a couple hours each day. At the end of my writing time, I’m happily angry and always craving more! I’m looking at rearranging my schedules a bit so that I can have more writing / editing time during the weekends; finishing this first part of the plan in a timely manner is essential to the next steps, which I’ll share soon.
If you are a writer, whether published or unpublished, or an agent who knows the business, please feel free to share any constructive tips that might be useful to me or others. I’d greatly appreciate it!
Here are some of my favorite quotes on plans and planning:
“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” Zig Ziglar
“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” Anatole France
“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.” Abraham Maslow
“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” Saint Augustine
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” Pablo Picasso
“Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.” Mike Tyson