Just wondering how long it takes to plan a novel--roughly.
From making character notes, to scenes you want--listing them, filling in the blanks--
when is enough enough, in your estimation?
Hope I made myself clear!

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by the way Jack, just wanted to ask--what's fifty pages--in word count? I want to figure it for chapters.

I'm old school with ya.' Outlining is procrastination. Editing is not. I stayed awake banging the keys till four a.m. one morn, I couldn't sleep 'cause I needed to know who killed Hank Bellows. It took a bunch of writing to find out, though. Get the stuff on the pages, then give 'em a bath, then, and only then, put on the Foo-foo juice.
foo foo juice? ! Cool! If your characters are as colorful as you are, they must be great!! I see so you keep on going. and the story comes out through the characters. right. sounds the most creative I have to admit! thanks so much.
Hi Carole,

My sister has an e on the end too. My mother named her after Carole Lombard.

Oh, yeah. My characters have to be fun types. I have to be able to laugh with or at them. Cry with them, puzzle over their odd behavior, but mostly, stretch them to their limits. Some won't go along with me, so---I kill 'em.
Oh I needed that! truly! So you kill em! perfect! A funny thing happened to me today. I started writing and all of a sudden my characters completely hijacked the story. that's okay, creativity and all that--but I hope they let me know some of the plot before they end it for me! I found them very interesting too! and liked the way the story was moving along and so rapidly!
I don't think my Mom named me after Carole Lombard--she just liked to be different, hence the e. I like when people call me Carollie--pronouncing it that way.
Hi Carole,
I think you'll get as many answers to this as there are readers of it. There are those who plan their novels meticulously, those who have a couple of ideas and start writing, letting the ideas fill out and develop as they progress, and no doubt many other techniques that work for some but might not work for you or me. My own experience is that I get the idea - which may be for a setting, a character, a motive, a social theme, or any combination of those and other things - and I start writing. It's my characters tyhen who take me in the directions they want to go. I may have an idea that X is a goodie and Y a baddie, but the exact nature of their goodness and badness doesn't materialise until they start speaking and interacting with others. If I'd made extensive notes on a character because I wanted him/her to perform a specific function in the book, I'd be preventing that character from being him/herself. So I suppose my answer to your question is that the planning continues through the writing process until at least halfway through the first draft - probably more.

But that's just me - and others will argue with equal conviction for diametrically opposed techniques.

Good luck,

Thank you very much Bill.
When you say you start writing--do you mean you just start writing a chapter--with no particular plan in your head?
I would love to do that!
I havre done that - and some times it works surpriisingly well - especially with short short stories. I've recently started exactly like that with an attempt at a comic novel. I simply thought 'OK, I need a situation in which I can create half a dozen or more characters, with varying degrees of eccentricity, who can move in and out of the action freely'. I decided to set the thing in a tenement building (which, in case they're called something different in the USA - condos maybe, is a house broken up into various flats/apartments). I have no plot, no idea where it'll take me - my aim is simply to make people laugh. I know that 'meanings' will emerge and messages and all that stuff, and they may be serious, but the main aim is to entertain. So I simply started by writing 'I’m not sure whether I was lucky or unlucky to get the flat. I could’ve waited a bit longer and got one in the West End or maybe one of the new ones right in the centre, but Rosemount was OK and I suppose I just wanted to be settled.' Within a page, this narrator had met and been intrigued by the woman who owns the flats (and I already suspect there may be a romance between them later) and a couple of the other characters and their idiosyncrasies had been mentioned. I have no idea where they (or their idiosyncrasies) came from and I'm looking forward to getting to know them.
Before now, with my crime novels, I've always had a pretty good idea of how and why the victim would be murdered before I started writing but, even then, I've sometimes changed my mind en route. In fact, I'm just about towrite a blog about a reader's reaction to a novel which shows that it could - quite legitimately - gone in a totally different direction.
thanks again. I see what you mean. I am going to try that!
I have (what I think) are good ideas but then I freeze! i need to roll along with less rigidity and see what happens I think.
I will try and see what happens!
We're supposed to plan?

Here's how I do it: http://journalscape.com/keithsnyder/2008-01-21-21:28
very good. thanks
I'm a very character-led writer, so I don't do a lot of outlining. I usually compile some character profile charts, make a picture board of my characters and settings, have the first scene in my mind and the last and work from A - B. I find out more about my plot and characters as I go along. So the planning side of things doesn't take me too long. I've tried compiling detailed outlines but they don't work for me.


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