Wednesday, 26 October 2016
Release Date: 3rd August 2016
Genres: Computing / Non Fiction
I am thrilled to welcome Dane Cobain to the blog with a great guest post. Thank you Dane.
My Planning Routine
Hi, folks! My name’s Dane Cobain and I’m a British indie author. I’m here today to talk about how I plan and write a novel – I’m excited because I’ve never talked about this before!
For me, a book starts with a single idea – a concept, or a little spark of inspiration that you hold onto and develop over time. With No Rest for the Wicked, my debut novella, that spark came from a nightmare I had about evil Angels going around and killing people. I jotted a few notes down when I woke up, then developed them over the coming months, fleshing out the idea and starting to develop the story line.
Sometimes I just write a couple of bullet points to give me enough to go on, and sometimes I plan out whole chapters and even work on a first draft by writing a couple of sentences to get me going. With the book that I’m writing at the moment – a detective novel, and the first book in a series – the process has been a little different, because the planning has to be more intense to make sure that the plot makes sense and that the clues are scattered throughout the story.
For the detective novel, I also used character sheets for the first time, which reminded me of when I was a kid and I used to play Dungeons & Dragons. Those sheets contained some key information about each of their characters – such as their height, weight, age and distinctive attributes – as well as a description of their personality. I also used the galleries on acting agencies to find photographs of people who look roughly like how the characters do.
The planning stage got even more complicated for a project called Greebos, which so far is just a plan but which I’m hoping to start working on soon. Greebos follows a class of schoolkids during the summer after they finish school, as they’re all maturing and turning into young adults. But because of that, each kid has their own story line, and all of those story lines then need to be plotted against an overall timeline to make sure that nobody is in two places at once.
It depends upon the type of writer you are, and if you read enough books then you start to get a feel for the writers that you’re reading. With George R. R. Martin, for example, you can tell that he puts a hell of a lot of effort into the planning stage, because if he didn’t then it wouldn’t work. Other authors prefer a stream of consciousness approach, where they have an idea of what needs to happen and they just write until they get it right.
Planning is important, of course, and I couldn’t work without it. But with all that said, the level of planning that you put in helps you to feel as though each book is a different creature, each with its own personality. Some of them take barely any planning and others take months or even years, but the planning process itself leaves its own stamp on the work.
Look out for it next time you read something. You’ll probably find out more about your favourite authors’ techniques than you expected.
Dane Cobain (High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK) is an independent poet, musician and storyteller with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not in front of a screen writing stories and poetry, he can be found working on his book review blog or developing his website, www.danecobain.com. His debut novella, No Rest for the Wicked, was released by Booktrope in the Summer of 2015.