I have this series that I’ve been writing for – literally – years. They’re probably some of the most promising material I’ve ever produced for a novel (which makes sense considering the time invested in them). But so far they haven’t made it past editing. The truth is this year I got tired of sitting back and saying “some day”. I made a vow to myself that I would finish the things I started, and that included finishing a book.
In my last blog I mentioned how I was inspired to start fiddling with my old fantasy novel called The Royal Rogue. I’ve desperately wanted to finish this thing since high school. The only problem was I had invested so many years into these characters and this novel that I had too much information floating in my head. By now almost every one of my characters has a life story. They have histories, struggles, quirks and material worthy of more subplots than any book should ever dare to take on.
So when I finally looked back at the story Sunday to refresh my mind I realized I needed to go back and sacrifice some of its rich detail. So I did what I’ve never actually done before.
I made a story chart.
I know this is an incredibly basic step that I should’ve done years ago. Before I would just scribble out a rough timeline telling me a beginning, middle and end. This time around I decided to go in depth. I’m not very Word savvy, so I began with a premade template for planning a paragraph and toyed around with it until it was big enough to house the skeleton of a novel. The result? A twenty chapter breakdown of a novel that now has clear direction and minimal subplots.
This little series of boxes and chapter breakdowns works for me better than anything I’ve ever tried before.
So what about you all? How do you go about planning/writing a novel?