Prioritized Lists

In any project, there are goals. You have to set them first. The larger the goal, the bigger the project, the more you need to break the project down into smaller pieces. The next step is prioritizing those pieces. What is the second thing you have to do.

I do that with my writing projects. I set up goals to reach. The first thing I do when starting a writing project is determine what the project is. When starting a novel, the first thing I do is break it down into steps. This is the basis of  most project management. The first step for me is to determine what the novel is going to be about. I list the premise and a few plot points. I use a beat sheet to do that. It gives me a vary broad outline of the work. I give that top priority. Then I refine the outline, which is the next most important priority. Then I create my characters.

So ranking my process, I put the beat sheet first, then the outline, then the characters. Actually writing the first draft is rather low on the priority level for me. After the characters, I do world building. That may sound strange, but even if the action takes place in the here and now, I still need to do a little world building. I don’t usually set my stories in real places. I make up a place and use it. To do that, I need to create the world, establish the rules, where people live and things like that. So that is the fourth priority when I’m writing. To recap:

  1. Beat sheet
  2. Outline
  3. Characters
  4. World building
  5. Scene descriptions
  6. First draft

As you can see, the actual writing is relatively low on the prioritized list. This is just what works for me in my writing. Making a prioritized list of the project, whatever it is, is what counts here. It works for me. Prioritized lists are tools that enable you to manage a large project. If you can list it, you can make it easier to manage the project in the long run. Now, if you take your initial prioritized list and take each item separately, you will see that you can break some of the items down further.

Now the beat sheet is not something that can be broken down, so I typically don’t try. The outline, is another that I don’t feel I can break down, but the third item, characters can be  broken down. I do it as follows:

  1. Beat sheet
  2. Outline
  3. Characters
    1. Major characters
    2. Minor characters
    3. Extras
  4. World building
  5. Scene descriptions
  6. First draft

It helps me to keep them clear in my head. These can be broken down still further. For example, the major characters can be broken down as:

  1. Beat sheet
  2. Outline
  3. Characters
    1. Major characters
      1. Protagonist
      2. Antagonist
      3. Other characters who have major supporting roles
    2. Minor characters
    3. Extras
  4. World building
  5. Scene descriptions
  6. First draft

The process is the same for the other items on the character list as well as the main list. The trick is not to get bogged down in the list.

Having prioritized lists, adding details as needed, is what makes the project manageable. Used correctly, the lists give you guidance on what you want to do. It works for me. Maybe it will work for you.

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About

I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

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Posted in General Opinion, Writing Techniques

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© Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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