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Johne

How to produce novels more quickly

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This is from an article called WRITING UNSTUCK: How to produce novels more quickly by my friend Grace Bridges.
http://jenelleschmidt.com/writing-unstuck/

Quote

 

Specifically, the steps I use from the Snowflake are as follows:

Step 1: A One Sentence Idea, keeping in mind 3 disasters and an ending if you want to follow the Three Act Structure.

Step 2: Expand that sentence to four sentences, one for each disaster and the ending.

Step 4: Expand each sentence to its own paragraph. That’s a page length synopsis.

Step 6: Make each paragraph into a page by adding more detail.

Step 8: Break it into scenes (by location, event, or point of view changes) and write one sentence for each. If too much planning spoils your fun, be vague.

If you’re a total pantser and can’t imagine writing out all of your scenes as single sentences, perhaps you can still make use of the benefits by very briefly jotting down what might come next, before you start your day’s writing, one scene at a time. One sentence should do it. I always do my planning in handwriting. It seems to activate the right corners of my brain to prime me for full-on creating.

 

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Wow! That's quite the idea! I've never done anything like it before. Forget about writing more books, if I sit on it too long I lose interest and then inspiration, part of why I make myself write x words a day and finish by a certain time. I am not a huge plotter so this method would definitely be a stretch for me. Her sub-points for a scene look like my entire outline. o_O

Well, this is something to consider. Thanks, Johne!

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Thanks Johne.

I have come.across this approach before.

The 3 stage structure is a good framework for plotting. 

Using this approach is good for the dreaded synopsis writing as you can go back to the sentances you have written as your base to work on 

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Posted (edited)

This approach can work, but my experience is that plot ideas do not come to me in either a linear fashion (beginning to end), or in a drill-down fashion (like snowflake). It is impossible to predict what will be the roadblock, and when you get stuck, that emotionally feeds on itself to produce writer's block. 

 

A few years ago, I started using an app called Index Card for my ipad. The app is not as important as the technique - you could use Trello, I imagine. The app lets you create stacks of cards, and you can drag and drop the cards to reorder them. Each card has a short title, a longer description, and content that can be pretty long.

 

What I do is create stacks for these purposes:

 

  - for each research topic

  - for each group of characters (factions, gangs, teams, families, species (when dealing with aliens)

  - for the story timeline (to avoid impossibilities and inconsistencies)

  - one for each act (I follow the 4-act structure)

  - for setting descriptions & maps

  - for unplaced plot ideas from brainstorming that I haven't sequenced yet

 

As ideas for scenes pop up, I insert them where I think they belong and rearrange as my ideas change.

 

I add a card for each character, but also include them in a master cast list, so I can see all the names and how they are related at a glance.

 

I am terrible at character design and consistency. Rather than going deep into each character's backstory up front, I do that only for a few. Then as I write, when I settle on a detail for that character (personality quirk, clothing preferences, food allergy, tattoo, you name it) I add it to their description card, so I don't contradict that detail later in the story.

 

This approach lets me run as far as I can in one direction, hit a block, and go off in a new direction with extra research, then come back. I am working on a YA fantasy novel (The Loyalty of Trolls) which has a key scene near the climax set in a nuclear reactor. I left that scene undefined, because I had no idea what the interior of the reactor building looks like. I put that novel down two years ago to write another book, which I just released. Now I am back working on the troll novel. As fate should have it, two months ago, an intern at my company invited all who were interested to join him for a tour of the MIT Nuclear Reactor (where my scene is to be set). Now I know what the interior of the reactor building looks like and some of their safety procedures. Now I can write that scene.

 

This approach has allowed me to put a book down for two years and quickly pick it up again. I also used it to write the nonfiction book I just released, Job Rises: Thirteen Keys to a Resilient Life. It fits the chaotic nature of my creative process much better than a simple outline.

 

Paul

Edited by paulchernoch
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It sounds lie the same thing could be accomplished a lot easier in Scrivener.  Although it costs $40.00 it accomplishes the same thing in an easy to use format.

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Just now, Nicholas Reicher said:

I saw a Dr. Who reference in the article!

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. . .who's that?

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