The murdering of perfectionism in planning your novel

hand giving the okay signalAre you the kind of writer who just starts writing and sees where it goes? Or, are you the kind of writer who plans every detail in an outline before writing the first draft?

I use to fall into the latter category. I didn’t want to tumble into the trap where the more spontaneous writers find themselves: writing hundreds of pages on something going nowhere. While the journey may be fun and the practice is never a waste, just writing without a plan didn’t make sense to me.

But I’ve also learned that over-planning a novel can be just as much a waste of time.

At the Quitter Conference I attended this past weekend, Jon Acuff reminded us of a concept from his book: 90% perfect and published always changes more lives than 100% and stuck in your head.

What I usually do is write a one sentence summary of each scene in my novel. Then I start to write. I move the sentences around as needed as I write, but surprisingly so far, that has been a minimal exercise. This method works well for National Novel Writing Month, which is almost a month away!

To me, the method of one sentence per scene is the best of both worlds. Try it.

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