A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
Planners, I salute you and your organised ways. I admire your mind-maps and your plot charts, your post-it note wall plans and your index cards. I envy your disciplined detailing of plot and character and your forward thinking ability to know your story chapter by chapter before you have even written a sentence.
I covet those things because I am no planner.
Nu-uh. Not me.
There are times, though, when I really really wish I were. I crave the sense of having a route map. Of knowing where I’m going. But planning is my blind spot.
Instead of following the writing sat-nav, I awake in a cold sweat wondering what on earth is going to happen next in my story. Which ramshackle backroad will my characters take me down tomorrow? What if it’s the wrong way? And will I ever write a book without having to go back and delete thousands of words that. Just. Aren’t. Working?
I tried it. I tried oh so hard to join the disciplined and upright ranks of the planners. Notebooks failed me. Index cards failed me. My post-it notes are disorganised and shameful scraps of paper clinging to my MacBook. Even the much loved Scrivener was unable to bring me into the light. I mean, how could I fill out a character bio if I didn’t even know my characters yet?
So, I guess it just isn’t for me. Planning is not my thing. Perhaps I am fated to tumble into the unknown with every book I write. Or perhaps – perhaps – my version of planning is my first draft. That’s when I tell myself the story and learn who my characters are.
So maybe, actually, perhaps, you never know . . . is it possible that we’re all planners in our own particular way?