My current task for my novel is reviewing and planning. It feels like a really big task and I'm beginning to realise how big a project I have given myself, but I think I am starting to draw some order from the chaos.
To the left is a picture of some of my sugar paper plans - they are A2 so I have plenty of room to fit everything on. The first is space for the main premise - the story idea, the setting and the protagonist. The idea was to get it all down onto paper in some form of visible plan to see what adds up an what doesn't, what works and what doesn't.
Then the second is called 'story remedies'. This is essentially my idea edit. I've done a lot of free writing for his novel, working with the setting, the characters and the story ideas and themes, and though it is nowhere near where I want the story to be, it has given me a feel for all these things, given me an idea of what works. From there, I can address the plot holes, the character problems, the things which just don't make the story flow.
It's funny - in figuring out the problems and thinking of solutions, I have, for many of them, returned to some of my original ideas from years ago, particularly with the protagonist. She has become too innocent, too simple, too whiny. Looking at the character as she is in my free writing, I have realised she is boring. She is not a strong heroine, but she has every potential to be. And I seem to have missed out half of the conflicts originally in her character, and conflicts drive a story forwards.
So I am finding this approach to be very helpful in purifying the chaos of ideas and refining the raw free writing.
What planning tools do you find helpful?