I normally write hot and edit cold, allowing my imagination to drive the plot. Character development just seems to unfold for me as I write. But I feel that with Athena, I’m in danger of either writing myself into a corner by creating plot inconsistencies, or making the book too speech heavy without enough plot to drive the pace of the novel.
For the first time in a long time I’m actually considering creating chapter breakdowns to guide the way I craft the story. Perhaps, dare I say it, I’m growing as an author allowing me to stop seeing chapter planning as restrictive and instead embrace it as being instructive in the planning and structuring of the novel.
I wrote the above a day ago and since then I’ve been working hard to create a comprehensive Chapter breakdown and overview spreadsheet. First I went for the detailed chapter/plot breakdown.
The above is the Alpha template of my current chapter breakdown sheet. Using an Excel spreadsheet, the plot elements are found down the vertical cells and the chapters along the horizontal cells. I’m hoping this will allow me to capture each element of the plot and where it fits into each chapter.
As a simpler high level overview I’ve also created a bullet point Chapter synopsis within another tab on the spreadsheet.
The writing is going well and these plot spreadsheets can only help keep me focused on the key points while allowing my creative mind to run wild as I write.
All this change, I guess this week is all about new changes, about new beginnings. Embracing change to be a better writer and a sharper story teller. Not only am I embracing filling out the chapter breakdown and synopsis in full, but a new (well old, but lapsed) routine is going to be put in place. Starting Monday, I’ll be getting up an hour earlier than usual to get an hour’s writing in, I’ll be going to a coffee shop at lunch times so I’m not being constantly interrupted on my lunch hour while I’m trying to get some writing done and making sure I’m in bed for 10 pm at the latest each night.
This week is all about the new, about working to constantly improve my practise and consistently learn the art and craft of writing, but doing so in a way that the most efficient and effective manner for me.
I hope you’ll wish me the best of luck as I put these changes in place, I’m a stubborn soul and change doesn’t come easily to me. I am sure that once I can see the full benefit of the changes I’m putting in place, I’ll embrace this change whole heartedly and not simply because I understand it may be an improvement on the current way I write.