Project Management skills and Fiction Writing


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  1. #1

    Project Management skills and Fiction Writing

    Is there a link? Simple question.

    I don't mean in terms of managing your writing tasks, but in developing the plot. It seems to me that there is some overlap; your characters have a goal, something they want to do, and you have to focus on both the end game and the dependency tasks to get there. Sometimes you'll have a setback and must mitigate for it. Any task that doesn't support the project is the same as not supporting the plot.

    What are your thoughts, WF?


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  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    Is there a link? Simple question.

    I don't mean in terms of managing your writing tasks, but in developing the plot. It seems to me that there is some overlap; your characters have a goal, something they want to do, and you have to focus on both the end game and the dependency tasks to get there. Sometimes you'll have a setback and must mitigate for it. Any task that doesn't support the project is the same as not supporting the plot.

    What are your thoughts, WF?
    I'm a retired Design Engineer (Silicon Valley) and have done some Project Management as well. For me, of course there's a link. It's in my nature to plan things out, and set goals.
    Goals help keep my writing on track, which allows me to schedule my cover designer and editor months before the book is finished.
    Organization helps keep the work consistent - my world is figured out in sufficient detail in advance and character profiles (including their arc, speech patterns, and of course appearance) are set before I start serious writing.
    I schedule my time and work on the novel in a similar way that I did when I was designing computers or internet routers.

    My opinion is that this is a personality trait, and therefore won't apply to very many others. We each have our own unique process that works for us, that's the beauty of art.

  3. #3
    Member KHK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    Is there a link? Simple question.

    I don't mean in terms of managing your writing tasks, but in developing the plot. It seems to me that there is some overlap; your characters have a goal, something they want to do, and you have to focus on both the end game and the dependency tasks to get there. Sometimes you'll have a setback and must mitigate for it. Any task that doesn't support the project is the same as not supporting the plot.

    I think you're right distinguishing between project management applicability to the writing tasks and to the plot.

    Managing the writing process as a project has its merits too, of course, but I'd say that is a subject for a separate discussion that would be more technical and less philosophical.

    Treating the plot as a project, on the other hand... That is a very interesting idea!
    There's an overall goal ("the release"), major turning points or achievements ("milestones"), and, of course, "constraints" (the conflicts, the dramatic changes, the major force events, without which everyone would simply live happily ever after from page 1, making the book boring and trivial).

    I can also see how treating sub-plots as dependency tasks can be beneficial, to make sure they're sufficiently developed for a plot milestone to be marked as properly achieved.

    And, of course, following the "what's the worst that could happen" approach, you can always throw a wrench into the plot, and mitigate your way out of it.

    Overall, an awesome idea

    P.S. As long as writers aren't required to present PMP certification to get published
    Last edited by KHK; January 16th, 2020 at 07:49 PM.

  4. #4
    I have found that a lot of it is experience.
    When I first started writing full length novels (many, many years ago) I was willy-nilly about my planning.
    Because you can get away with being willy-nilly with shorter works.

    But after getting burned a few times, I learned to be better organized in how I plan a book.
    Also, after writing several books I gained the experience to see HOW to better organize.
    Now after about a dozen books and lots of short works, I have a very streamlined process.
    It only took a million words to get here.

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