Infinimata Press: Projects: No Plan Ever Survives First Contact With The Enemy Dept.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2014-03-13 10:00:00-04:00 No comments

Again, work and the busy-ness of settling in (finding a house, getting access to my stuff in storage) has intruded on blogging time. So, some Fold news, delivered with my customary lack of spoilers.

So far I'm about a third of the way through my first draft, with some major differences already having crept in between the plan I drew up and the book I'm delivering. They're less a matter of changing individual elements than altering how they're delivered in the story. I find time and again what looks like a good idea from a cruising altitude of 32,000 feet doesn't always work out when you're on the ground and fashioning it into specific sentences. Not only that, but the happy accidents that come to you in the course of any draft have a way of forcing you to rethink why you chose to do something a particular way in the first place.

I ran into this before with Vajra as well, and it was doubly delicate there given the sheer size of the project. Fold is not expected to be more than 125,000 words (I'm cutting it off at 130,000, tops), but even on a smaller scale the same issue can manifest.

The more I run into this, though, the more I see that it doesn't mean the process of drafting an outline or a general overview is worthless. Start somewhere — or, as John Cage was wont to say, start anywhere — if only to call that the point from which you started. Creating a plan doesn't mean the plan is sacrosanct, only that it points you in more of the right directions than the wrong ones.

My earlier post about looking for the cracks in things comes back into play here. It's OK to be in love with your ideas, but you can't marry yourself to their execution. Don't say, "But I don't want it to be like that! I want it to be like this!" until you've had a good, long think about the implications of it being this way rather than that way.

Thought experiment for self: Take the finished book, go back in time, and give it to my earlier self right around the time I was just putting pen to paper. If I could read it and say, "That's not what I originally had in mind. It's better," then I chalk that one up as a win.

Tags: John Cage Welcome to the Fold writing