For some lucky creative writers, planning apparently takes place subconsciously. The poem or play or story seems to present itself fully formed to the writerâ€™s mind, in a dream or flash of inspiration perhaps, though no doubt the planning process has been tickingÂ overÂ for some time somewhere deep in the brain. One well-known example is Coleridgeâ€™s drug-induced daydream, in which he developed the complete wording of â€˜Kubla Khanâ€™ . On waking, he started writing the poem down from memory . . . until interrupted by a worldly intrusion â€“ a visit from a â€˜person on business from Porlockâ€™.
Or a creative writer may have such a disciplined mind that, in consciously devising plans, he can work out and rearrange the most complex details without having to write anything down. Anthony Trollope would work out in his head, often when walking in the woods, the detailed actions and thoughts and even conversations of his various characters, and these would eventually find their way almost unchanged into the pages of his novels.
Some everyday writers manage to develop a similar skill in their specific subject. An experienced lawyer, for instance, might simply dictate to his secretary, word-perfect, an extremely complex letter of advice to a client.
Few everyday writers, however, can plan their writings so fast and fluently. For most people, it takes pencil and paper and a lot of painful mental effort, rather than just some spontaneous reflection and a good memory, to formulate plans for whatever it is that they are writing.
The standard method of arriving at a fully-fledged plan is by drawing up a schematic outline, though some people preferÂ to use a modern technique of plunging straight into a roughÂ draft.
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