Sunday, 20 May 2007

Novel Progress - Update

WriteLink entry polished and submitted and 754 words of the novel written today. There might be more to come later, I'm not sure. Anyway, current word count is 50,526 (or 56.1% done).

Now that I'm approaching the home straight I've realised I have to spend some time working on the conclusions to the sub plots and how they interlink. My main character has a fixed number of days until the end of the book and I need to sort out what happens on which day. That sounds fairly straightforward in theory but it's important to get the balance right between the main plot and the subplots so the reader doesn't get bored of the subplots and skim reads to get back to the main plot. Also, because the main character is involved in the subplots as well as the main plot there's a bit of a causal relationship going on. And then there's the fact my main character has a job so she can't very well go skipping off to help character B in the middle of the working day (or can she?). Like I said, I've got some thinking to do.

The YWriter software really does help with this (I know I sound like I'm on commission here, the amount I plug it, but it's free so that would make my commission...well, you get the idea). Anyway, with the software each chapter is separate from the others. You can add scenes to your chapters - label them with a title and also add extra information into the notes box. And you can see all your scene and chapter outlines at a glance without having to scroll through a great long Word document.

The great thing is you can drag the scenes around, re-order them or even drag them into different chapters if necessary. What I'm doing at the moment is adding new scenes to my chapter and labelling them with the day and am or pm. Then I plan to write them, in order. If I discover I've made a mistake with the order (like scene Y would really sit better behind scene W than scene X) it's simple enough to drag the entire scene to a different place and re-label them so the days are in the correct order again.

I think I've made it sound a lot more complicated than it is but it's working for me - so far!


kathmcg said...

I've heard of a good technique (and Jane Wenham-Jones mentions it in her new book Wannabe a Writer) which might help -

Start a spreadsheet. Put chapter numbers down the side, and plots and sub-plots along the top. In each cell, put a few words saying what happens in each sub-plot in each chapter, if anything.

You'll end up with a visual representation of the novel, and it'll be easy to see how well balanced it is; whether one sub-plot is falling behind for a few chapters, or if another has too much emphasis, etc.

J W-J calls this method the 'thread chart'.

I've never managed to finish a novel, but this strikes me as a pretty good way of keeping track of what's happening and when.

Good luck.

CTaylor said...

Oh that's a fantastic suggestion Kath. Thanks v much.

SallyQ said...

I had my MC going off in the middle of her working day but then her job was only a front for what she was really doing!

It could be part of the fun to have your MC find new excuses to leave, Cally. I've read books where the employed characters never seems to spend time at the office. But perhaps it's a better idea to have your MC doing a job that's not too rigid, and which gives her good excuses not to be in the office 9-5.