I started plotting Scorpion Summer at work during my lunch or when inspiration for a scene hit me. I use an index card app called, oddly enough, Index Card on my iPad. That way I don’t have to carry my Macbook to work. I like my electronics. Anything to avoid a pen and paper. Here’s what the app looked like after I filled in my mid-point scene and conclusion scene:
As you can see, I’m a firm believer in starting from the middle. The mid-point is the defining moment for the hero. So it should go up first like the center pole in a circus tent. Everything else flows to and from the mid-point. Check out James Scott Bell’s Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between to see how this works. It’s a short read and well worth the few bucks he’s asking. So there’s two scenes plotted. I develop my characters as I do this. I do prefer a notebook and pen for character development. I don’t know why, it just feels more natural. My goal is about 60 scenes, so I need to fill in at least a scene per day to be ready to write in two months.
When I got home from work, did some work for Hensley, walked the dog, and ate dinner. At 7pm I shut off my browser and e-mail and opened up Scrivener to my file for Now I Knew You. It’s all plotted out onto 60 scene cards, 15 for each act (act 2 is split into 2A and 2B). Here’s how it looked when I opened it:
Each chapter is a folder. On each chapter card I write a summary of what the chapter is about. When I’m ready to write, I open the Chapter and insert a text file. That’s my scene. If I need another scene inside that chapter, I just add it. To make things easy, I start out assuming 60 scenes and 60 chapters. The nice thing about Scrivener is it’s easy to move scenes and chapters around later on. Just drag and drop the card where you want it and the text follows!
So I wrote my first scene for Now I Knew You. 1,342 words. Total to date (stay with me here): 1,342 words. Math is easy the first day.
That took an hour. It’s not so hard if you’ve already planned the scene in advance. Just that summary on the card and I knew what to do.
At 8pm, I shut down that project and opened my completed first draft of Camp Dogs. This is longer than the average YA, and it’s not pure YA since most of the POV is from a 40 year-old man. But my favorite character, Juli, is 16 and she makes her debut in this novel. She’ll be the main character for the rest of the series. Consider it a YA prequel.
I’ve run through my first “quick-edit” up to scene 35. I have 93 scenes total in this one. 96,000 words. I’ll shoot to have it edited once by the end of July. That’s just to catch glaring plot errors (which I shouldn’t have if my plotting was worth a crap). Then I’ll send it to my editor. She’ll make suggestions and I’ll do a final edit. Hopefully all in August. Then out to beta readers. I plan to publish this one in November.
So there’s day one. Not bad, eh? It seems like a ton of work, but it’s not all that bad. Working several projects at once keeps me from getting bored with any of them. Keeping a tight deadline keeps me from wandering.
I hope all my updates won’t be this long! But I’ll try to get my numbers up every night. Thanks for stopping in and feel free to comment so I don’t feel utterly and completely alone.