five days five quotes challenge – #2

This week I’m posting a favourite writing related quotation each day. Today’s quotation is about the importance of planning. 

I plan. I’m a planner. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it really is quite important – planning makes life easier and makes something as ridiculously large as a novel possible. We could just swim off into one without planning, of course we could – we could just stick our arms into wood-chippers, or paint ourselves with molten lead – there’s no end to the ludicrous and self-harming things we, as human beings, could get up to. But, honestly, really truly, novels provide all the ludicrous self-harm anyone could reasonably need. (In addition to all of the good bits.) Set out on a novel without adequate planning and I will bet you considerable sums, perhaps even of money, that you will then fall into a massive chasm, heaving with all of the difficulties associated with not planning. A novel is a new world, peopled and furnished with the never-were, and perhaps the never-could-be. Something as beautifully monumental as that, as founded on thin air and bloody magic, will need preparation. I wasn’t kidding about the three years I spend – on and off – fumbling about with settings, finding out about characters, stumbling over lumps of plot and, in every sense of the word, planning. Sorry to nag on about this, but I have, over the last couple of decades, met innumerable people whose novels didn’t make it, because they didn’t plan. At a certain level the logic is pretty simple; it’s very hard to tell someone a good story unless you know what the story is – hence, planning.

A. L. Kennedy (2014) On writing London: Vintage Books p. 96

Substitute monograph or thesis for novel. Read again. While we may not agree with never-were and never-could-be as what we do, academic work does involve considerable imagination and is a kind of world-making. And this takes planning. Planning, namely thinking and writing bits and pieces, is an integral part of an academic practice. 


About pat thomson

Pat Thomson is Professor of Education in the School of Education, The University of Nottingham, UK
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1 Response to five days five quotes challenge – #2

  1. Reblogged this on Caroline+Kühn and commented:
    For me more difficult than doing the planning per se is sticking to each day! Hard work for me! Routine and routine! Hoe important it is for writing! Thanks Patt for this!


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