1. CGB

    CGB Active Member

    May 15, 2014
    Likes Received:

    Outling first novel, OCD, over-planning

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by CGB, Nov 7, 2014.

    Hello everyone, I've tried several times in the past writing without planning or with minimal planning. I've done this several times. It has never worked out, and I've almost always hated what was produced.

    Now I have been outlining what I want to be the first installment of a long space opera (the ideas of which have been percolating in my mind for several years). I've been using the so-called "snowflake" method (kind of), since it was a very simple step-by-step guideline to follow.

    One of my main problems is I have clinical obsessive-compulsive disorder, and I tend to obsess over details. I suppose this can be good when you are trying to create an awe-inspiring post-Earth universe, but it can also make the process painfully slow. Especially the world-building and meticulous attention to every minor detail so as to make all elements of the story seem realistic. For instance, I've spent 2 whole years planning the alien races in my story.

    Anyways I was wondering if anyone can relate to this.

    Also what advice do you have? Is there such a thing as over-planning, even with genres that are inherently very large scope?
  2. Darkkin

    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

    Jun 21, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Following the footprints in the sand...
    The dreaded outline...Death warmed over to the creative process. Overplanning is a very, very real problem. It can suck the ingenuity and beauty out of a piece of creative writing.

    World building is one thing, but the world should develope at a rate akin to the characters and the storyline. There are those who fall into the pit of constant planning and notetaking without actually writing anything.

    I follow my instincts and impulses. My characters have been my best guides along the way. I have ADHD and I love minutia, but I don't let it rule my writing. I fit the pieces into place and keep moving. The one area I do take a lot of time on, however, are battle sequences. Those I choreograph with painstaking care. Oddly enough, I use techno music while setting these pieces up because it has such a repeative rhythm.

    Sorry about the ramble,

    - Darkkin, the Tedious
    CGB likes this.
  3. karmazon

    karmazon Member

    Dec 25, 2007
    Likes Received:
    If it's not important to the main story question, don't worry about it.

    Then again, David Fincher hired someone to fill out John Doe's notebooks with crazy writing in Se7en, which took two months and was never really shown in the movie, so what do I know.
  4. MaryMO

    MaryMO New Member

    Nov 6, 2014
    Likes Received:
    This is going to be somewhat off the subject of writing.
    My oldest son has ADHD too, I've been having problems with getting him to read and write better. One of my friends from work also had this. She's mentioned that when she reads she has to listen to music at the same time or she isn't able to process much of what she's reading. I'm going to try this, maybe I can have him follow my passion to become a writer. :D
  5. Aled James Taylor

    Aled James Taylor Contributor Contributor

    Sep 7, 2013
    Likes Received:
    I think panning is important, but not necessarily at the beginning. You could write your story and finish it in 50k words, then think, 'where am I going to find another 30k words from?' (to meet the 80k minimum requirement for a novel). At this point, any plan you have is out the window. You'll need to write about what happens next, or include a whole load more details and extra scenes to pad out what you already have, or both, and then some.

    They say that the first draft of a novel is where the author finds out what the book is about. This is true, it happened to me. I thought I was writing a romantic comedy but it turned out to be a murder mystery (the murder and the mystery are not actually relating to each other so it may not qualify). At this point it's good to do some planning, to enable effective editing. You'll know what your doing far better after you've written the story than you do before.

    Don't worry about not liking what you've written, If you can work out why you don't like it, you're well on your way to fixing it so that you do.

    Being creative is chaotic. Just try to postpone your OCD tendency to the editing phase where it will come into its own. You can obsess over the details that are actually in your story without wasting time obsessing over the ones that are not.
    CGB likes this.
  6. mom42terrificgirls

    mom42terrificgirls Member

    Sep 4, 2014
    Likes Received:
    I have OCD, as well, and have planned my book and outlined it in more ways than you can imagine. It has slowed me down; however, the story has unfolded and changed for the better over time. I read and reread my book many times while writing other chapters, too. Painfully slow, so I understand. Hugs to you and I hope in the end you are happy with your finished product. Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. Yeah, right, huh? :)
    CGB likes this.

Share This Page