A truth: the planning of the story continues until the last galley is ripped from your hands and the printer won’t take any more calls from the publisher, the editor, or you. It continues to the very, very end.
A hard truth: writing a book is work. In many respects, it is like building a home or raising a child, efforts of love and patience that are hard enough in their own right but almost always impossible without a blueprint or the example of some devoted predecessors to show you the way. The goal is to write a novel or a story, not to type a lot of pages and bind them.
The lesson: plan your novel before you write it.
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