Dad: You just gotta grab the bull by the horns.
Son #2: And do a flip onto it, and ride it on home. (laughs)
Son #1: (shakes head) Little kids are so literal.
Upon closer perusal of my new treasure, I discovered that Wiesner's method doesn't actually produce a manuscript in 30 days, but rather a detailed outline from which you can produce a fairly painless, solid, semi-final draft. Okay, that sounds more reasonable. And, more what I need anyway, because I haven't thought too much about outlines since my junior high school days. I did create an outline for my first novel (and the whole series) but that was a simple roman-numeral plot sequence outline. Since then, other than a little dabbling in the snowflake method, I have been acting as a seat-of-the-pants discovery writer even though I know it doesn't suit me. Yes, I'm messed up. Moving on.
Wiesner's outline method includes way more than just plot; it has multiple days dedicated to research, character sketches, setting descriptions, and more. I've dabbled in these things, too, but without structure or order to them.
So, in grabbing a catchy title on my way out of the bookstore, I have stumbled upon a book that may be perfectly suited to shoring up my writing weaknesses. Giving structure, sequence and even deadlines to my pre-writing.
So how extensive do you make your pre-writing phase? Do you outline plot, do extensive research, do character and setting sketches and more? And what is the more?
And... how important do you find these steps in helping you create your masterpiece?
P.S. I have been away from novel writing for more than a year, but am planning to grab the bull by the horns, do a flip onto it, and ride it home. If all goes as planned and I don't get gored, I'll have a spiffy super-outline by November, and I can do NaNoWriMo this year to produce the manuscript itself. I'll let you know how the whole experiment goes. Oh, and I'm not affiliated with Ms. Wiesner or her book in any way. Just sharing!