No, I haven’t just been reading books these days, I am still working on writing them. More accurately, I am working on one, and while there isn’t a lot of progress in the area of word counts, I have been working on the plan. What’s that you say, I thought he had a plan? Well I did. And it worked for the first half of the book, and the words were flowing like the mighty Columbia River. Only not all of them were good, and my three plot lines and three points of view were competing for supremacy and none were going to win. I needed to know, even more accurately than before, exactly what needed to happen in each and every chapter. I also needed to do some lf the same edits (POV, chapter length) on this manuscript that I did on The Forgotten Road.
So what I’ve got now is about 35000 words divided up into twenty or so chapters, with three plot lines that wend and weave their way through this new world I am creating to work towards coming together. But I can’t have them come together too soon, nor can they wait forever. But since I am also planning this to be a 4 book series, I have to hold something back.
In order to keep this all straight, I’ve developed a very simple Excel spreadsheet, with the following columns.
|Chapter||Character 1||Character 2||Character 3||Notes|
|1||1564||Meet the Villain|
|2||1200||Meet the hero|
Of course, I specify my characters names, and the first chapter is not about meeting the Villain, well, not really, but you get the point.
I had a few instances where I had chapters yet to be written, without a clear idea of what was going to happen in them. I didn’t want them to become filler chapters, but I had a pretty clear alternating pattern that I developed between the plot lines that was difficult to drop halfway through the book, even though one of the plot lines had to wait for another one to catch up. When these chapter gaps started to pile up, I jumped to the end of the book, and worked my way backwards. In the end, I only had a couple of these gaps. One I eliminated by dropping the chapter. The other I plan to make use of to cover a little more back story to set up books 2,3 and 4. Hopefully it’s not too obvious to the reader when I briefly abandon the pattern, and hopefully the adherence to the pattern doesn’t drive them equally insane.
I also bought some software called Fractal Mapper to help me lay out this fantastical world I am building. Where TFR was built in the current world, this one uses a fictional world with some important geological features that are referenced in the book, so it was important for me to keep everything straight in my head. Building a map pointed out a couple of issues that without a map, would have caused real heartache later in the story.
So with all of this planning pretty much complete, I should be back to writing very soon. I don’t know how much having a plan this detailed will impact my enjoyment and fulfillment of writing, but I know I hate editing, and if this gets me out of that, I learn to live with it.