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Feb082015

Back to the drawing board

So it's been over a year since my last blog entry (Harper Lee is more prolific than I am!), so I've decided to write a brief update on where I'm at with my second novel.

I've written over 120,000 words which is 40,000 more than The Devil's in the Detail. The only problem is ... the story had gaps which I thought would magically fill themselves in. Unsurprisingly, they didn't - and the last 6 months have been spent chipping away at sentences and paragraphs I didn't like, while putting off the prospect of re-planning the entire story.

So having finished moving into a new house (and neighbourhood), I've  decided I need to pull the trigger on going back and re-planning the second novel properly (or as properly as I can muster). This has involved mapping the current story onto approximately 50 speech-cards with a brief synopsis of every scene/beat, grouped together into chapters. I'm actually not finished yet (end of February is my goal), but it's finally allowing me to start seeing the wood through the trees.

To assist, I've been using a cool little application called, Scrivener. It was recommended to me by Tracey over at Carpe Librum (a cool book blog if you haven't checked it out). Not only does Scrivener allow you to create a 'plan' using virtual cue cards, it also allows you to then type that scene (instead of Microsoft Word). Then when you decided to shift a scene/chapter you simply drag it to it's new position. Given my current novel is a story seen through the eyes of multiple characters, it also allows me to keep a track of which characters are focussed on throughout the story. It also provide a lot of nice little features like full-screen mode, which shield me from YouTube and Reddit (mandatory) and setting word targets for each session (nice to have).

So, with then the entire story properly mapped out end-to-end, I'll then copy in my existing manuscript into each section, write the new sections (end of April) and start the editing process. Easy, right?

Maybe check back on March 1st and see how I did.

PS: have been reading lots over the Summer though. Especially liked Matt Reilley's Great Zoo of China; Ben Elton's Time and Time Again; and quite surprised by John Birmingham's The Disappearance series.

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