Planning Stages

I’ve tried to keep this blog a bit more personal than my previous one. In order to relate my current situation to writing, I must share news that most people who know me are already aware of.

I’m engaged.

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As of this writing, the date has not been set. We’re at least getting closer to declaring one, but at the moment it’s still up in the air.

There was a church cookout this weekend. Several friends that I knew during my high school years were in attendance. It was a blast to see them. They were overjoyed with my news. They were able to meet my fiancé. But by the end of the day, we had answered the same question at least 25 times times. No, we didn’t have a date yet.

Not to be deterred, the two of us sat down and looked at the calendar. We at least eliminated certain seasons. We nailed down other details, trying to decide who should be in the wedding party. My mother made a list of what is needed, and that list keeps getting longer: cake, flowers, hair stylist, photographer, videographer, ushers, greeters, decorations, food for the reception…you get the idea.

The more I think about the wedding, the more I remember how much we don’t know and how much more there is to discuss. I’ve moved from the “that’s pretty” stage of planning (thanks, Pinterest!) to the “we could possibly do this” stage. After all that comes the budget and eliminating choices due to price, but we aren’t quite there yet.

Moving the conversation back to writing, certain events in your book must be planned. If you know that the real villain is one of your gang’s inner circle, you have to plant clues about that early on, all while not tipping your hand before the big reveal. Book series with overarching events must be planned. Certain stages must be set before other information is uncovered. The events of book one lead up to book two, and you won’t enjoy book three as much if you haven’t read book two. That’s the beauty of series books. A new reader on book three will get hooked and go back to buy book one and two if you’ve done your job right.

But before you get excited readers handing you their money in exchange for a chance to read your book, you must first plan. What needs to happen here? What must follow it? Does one event lead up to the next effectively? Is your ending weak? Are your beta readers satisfied where you ended it?

While writing the book is hard, planning is difficult, too. Some things won’t be decided until it’s written. Then you must go back in the story and plant necessary hints if the event requires it. Though the plotting writer already knows that, the writer who simply feels out the scene as they pen it must keep these facts in mind, since they will need to backtrack and add those details (well, if you’re me and are as clueless as the reader for part of the book, you do).

Hats off to all those who plan ahead. As one who is in the midst of planning my own event, I salute you. Planning can be very difficult!

We have since picked a date. Planning the event is much easier with a date. 🙂

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