I’ve been reading a whole lot lately, and been exposing myself to some really well evolved worlds, which I think is excellent for my own writing, and has come at the perfect time.
Chasing Ascension‘s world was flat. The plot and characters were rich and interesting, exciting to write about, but the world I placed them in? Wow… I don’t think I’ve ever done so badly before. This is where a little more planning would have come in handy!
Except that on other occasions I have written by the seat of my pants and had the world fall into place around me – the Resurgence Trilogy is an example of that, but then perhaps that’s because the first book had been floating around in my mind (and been written in quite a different way when I was about 13) for more than a decade.
I think I was expecting that to happen this time around as well, but the reality is that the world I started out in and the world I really want my novel to be in are pretty different. It’s going to take a bit of work to change everything over, but I know I can get there in the end.
For me, this has really highlighted where I need to spend more time. I’ve never been an in depth planner (and probably never will be), but I do need to spend more time thinking about/visualizing the different aspects of the world that my novel is set in.
I have another novel idea brewing, it will be interesting to see whether the time it’s been given to develop will help overcome this little problem I have. I kind of think it will – which means I need to find a way to stop being so impatient to begin putting words on the page. I don’t want to be a writer who has to go back and add all these layers on the second draft, though admittedly that’s where I feel I’m at right now.
How long do you spend planning your novels? Are your worlds thought out in depth or do you just let the story guide you? And how much do you find yourself having to add in on a rewrite?