Spring ILC, Week 2: Planning for the unplanable

I’m such a planner when it comes to short-term stuff like this ILC, or stuff that doesn’t go anywhere without me like my novel. (This is the exact opposite of how I am with long-term life stuff.) It’s only Week 2 and already I’m thinking “I don’t have enough sources for my paper (that I haven’t even begun drafting yet because it isn’t due for another eight weeks)! And in class we haven’t been given the parameters for the final project, so how can I plan for the unknown??”

Some things I have no control over, and that’s OK. Good, in fact. But those that I do, I meticulously plan with great relish.
Checks on to-do lists and timelines and schedules,
Alphabetizing and well-sharpened pencils,
Spreadsheets in binders with three silver rings,
These are a few of my favorite things!
I’d call this another good week overall. I’ve been trying to set up a small local group of writers outside of school to meet up once a week and give each other feedback on our writing. This, apparently, is easier said than done, but I do have one Yes for tomorrow. Cecilanne is also happy to receive feedback on her work, so that could work out for me as well.

On Wednesday I met with my friend and colleague at the Writing Center. We talked about big-picture stuff in terms of theme (growing up), the different kinds of relationships that my protagonist has with all the secondary characters, and how to make those relationships illustrate the theme.


On Thursday I had another great meeting with Cecilanne and we talked more specifics about how to smooth out the beginning and flesh out the ending. I need to work a lot on worldbuildinggeography, religions, history, other weird magical stuff besides the story fire, etc. Magical creatures? Maybe. Cecilanne recommended just brainstorming every cool/weird thing I can think of for these characters to run into. Even if those ideas don’t get used in this story or any future story, it’s still fun. I also need to do a lot more background work on my secondary characters to make them more rounded and to understand not only how they interact with my heroine but with each other.

My paper will explore the questions “How can children’s/YA fiction be a medium for social justice/anti-oppression work?” and “How does a writer with a ton of privilege go about doing so?”, and in trying to find sources I’ve discovered there is sadly little available in “scholarly” journals and so forth. But, because this is my paper and I get to decide how to do it, I declare that blog posts, online articles, and my friend’s in-progress undergrad paper on Harry Potter are all valid sources. Still, I’m shocked that there isn’t a book on this yet. Check back with me in ten or twenty years, maybe I’ll have written it.

Alas, this week I did not meet my goal of writing a page a day. But even on busy days when I had work and/or class, I still got something done on my ILC, so I’m calling that a success. Still. I can’t say “Less planning, less reading, more writing” because I need to do all three. “More planning, more reading, more writing” sounds daunting as heck. “Keep planning, keep reading, keep writing” feels much less scary.

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