Writing is a craft not an artFriday's Write Here post was written by Roger Sanderson. He writes medical romances for Mills & Boon. While emphasising that his ideas might not suit some, he makes a good point. Just setting off not knowing where you're going is a recipe for writer's block. He advocates starting with a plan. Write the blurb for your book, then write the synopsis. Having laid the foundations, then proceed to build/write your novel. Writing is a craft. Very sensible.
I'd love to be able to do that, but the hard line planning would kill it for me. I want to be arty - or rather the inclination is to just do it and discover as I go along. That said, I have recently done a retrospective plan for Kingslayer (aka SoD). I have 26 chapters so far, with the ending still not thought out. But it's still good to see the chapters, which have brief (some times very brief) notes as to what happens. Surprisingly, the middle looks more full than I thought. I was under the impression I had a typically saggy middle there :-)
Actually, the main reason I did the plan was to get the times of year correct:
Chapter 1; Battle at river, Kai's appointment to Derventio; AD 535 Spring
Chapter 2; Derventio, Anglians arrive; AD 535 Spring/Summer
(I've done it in the form of a table, but it won't come out for Blogger.)
I didn't want summer ocurring directly after winter or some such. I remember Elizabeth Chadwick saying she realised that one of her heroines was having an abnormally long pregancy, so was able to remedy that well before publication. So knowing at least the season and the year is useful. And talking of Elizabeth Chadwick, she's doing Write Here's weekened posting. It's on the very apt subject of writing historical novels with a dash of romance.