Sunday, 5 October 2014

Plotting a Novel. Part Two

Plotting a novel - Part Two. 
The Chapters.

When writing my books I first need a framework.
Once I have the chapters or at least the 75% of them I give the book a time frame. If it is one of a series, as Dragon World is, then I decide how long it is since the last book, days, weeks, months? Then what time of the year it is again to correspond with  the last book. This will set the length of days, time of dawn and dusk, the climate and type of flora I could expect to find. As most of my books are adventure stories those details are important.

Once that is done I go back to the sentences for each of the chapters and under that one sentence I write down what is the minimum that chapter has to achieve. Each chapter has a role and each chapter must advance the story.  I make a note at the head of each chapter what time I can expect dawn and dusk. Then for the first two or three chapters I also note which day in the story it is, day one, or day two etc. and the approximate times I expect each event in the chapter to happen. When those chapters are written I  do the same for the next couple of chapters. Plotting it this way gives an overall structure and keeps the chronological order, day, night and all the stages in between, in their proper place. It also ensures that each chapter is contributing to the story.
This may sound like a very rigid framework but when I am writing a book it becomes a living thing. It grows and changes despite the confines I have set on it. New story lines grow, old ones fade. Characters often point-blank refuse to conform to the role I set for them; asserting that their character would never say that or do that. So the frame I have so carefully constructed stretches and gives and alters but it holds the whole in place.
This is how I plot my books. It is time consuming and painstaking but such fun and it makes the actual writing that much easier. I can concentrate on the details, filling in the colours and shades as I write knowing the structure is solid.

You can find the Dragon World books at Amazon and Smashwords

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