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What’s the plan for your story?

October 10th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments
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I’ve written before about how it’s important to have a plan for your writing. Since then my overrall plan has gone by the wayside, so I may have to review my policy on that. But today I want to talk about plans for each thing you write.

So, as well as having an overall plan for your writing career (maybe), you should also know what you’re going to do with each piece you write. Have you thought about

  • How it’s going to be distributed?
  • How you’re going to get the word out?
  • Where the story fits in with your other work?

The reason this is on my mind is of course that I have recently finished a story. I’ve been dwelling on the whole process of getting the story out between writing stints and the picture of what I wanted to do grew gradually.

I’ll put the plan out there as an example. The story is about 9,500 words at the moment. This puts it in a kind of long-short story category I suppose (you know what I mean). I decided a while ago that I would write a series of science fiction stories around a quite specific theme and so decided that this one would work as an opener.

It is also my “practice” story; the first thing I’ve written from beginning to end since starting this website (how did it take so long?) and the launch of my newfound dedication to writing. By practice I just mean that my primary goal with this story was to get into a routine (to just write, dammit). I chose it because it was something I’d had in my head for a while, and was pretty well mapped out. I thought it would be an easy one to start with (I was wrong).

So, that’s where it fits. The immediate plan is to put it to one side for a couple of months and work on something brand new. Then I’ll come back to it and edit away from a fresher perspective. Then comes the point where I have to show it to people. I’ve got a small selection of friends and relatives I’ll share it with (I’m basically following Stephen King‘s door shut/door open recommendations for these stages). In addition I may also bandy it around some writing community sites as well.

Then, after another round of editing I’ll show it to everyone! It will be a free download on this very site, so people get to see it and see what my writing’s like.

As far as the bigger picture goes, I will carry on with the other stories, and when they’re pretty much all ready to go, I’ll offer another free one out of the collection (again, getting the word out- everyone loves a free sample).

By that time I should have enough material and enough impetus to be able to sell the collection. Fingers crossed.

I’m under no delusions about how long this will take (at least I don’t think I am, but then if I was deluded, how would I know?). I intend to write other things as well, plus I’m writing at a snail’s pace at the moment! I’ll have to step it up a gear and still don’t expect this scheme to come to fruition for about three years(!)

Still, I always said I was playing a long game.