In keeping with my desire to show how I’m progressing through Deadworld 3, here is the first thing I start with, the outline. While it would certainly be more interesting if you could actually read what is written down there, that would kind of spoil things a bit, wouldn’t it? Some of you might realize the screenshot as being from MS Powerpoint, which it is indeed. I use the slides as notecards to put my thoughts down, and it provides the flexibility to shuffle things around and easily edit. Powerpoint slides also allow for notes with each slide so I can fill in minor details as I think of them, so that I don’t forget when I get to writing that particular chapter. These could be small character details, like making sure a character speaks about something specific because it’s going to be brought up later.
The intention of the notes is to help maintain consistency with things throughout the book, as my memory is for shit, and I need all the help I can get. As an aside, I’ve had one reader point out a consistency issue in Deadworld which was missed by myself and the copyeditor. Kudos to those of you on the ball enough to spot it. Hint, it’s in second half of story and has to do with Laurel. It’s a minor consistency detail, but if I’d kept notes like I’m going to try and do here with D3, I would not have made the error.
In outline form, this makes a nice, bulleted type synopsis of the story. Each slide here is notes on a chapter, and yes, this is pretty much each chapter in the book. As I’ve stated before I’m a pretty heavy plotter, and I know the basic course of my whole story before I start writing. At a glance, you’ll see that some chapters have a fair bit more info than others. My notes will range from the simple indication of an event down to indicating specific emotional content that needs to come across in the scene. The important thing for me, is that I have a solid sense of how the whole story is put together. I’m not anal enough to detail everything. Honestly I don’t think that’s required, but it’s important to me to know where I’m going, what’s up ahead, and what things need to be put in place for later in the story. Much of this has to do with the fact that I’m not a very good editor, so I try to write in such a way as to avoid any major editing at the end. My goal: the first draft is my main draft, and short of cleaning things up at the end, I have no structural changes to make in the story.
So, this is a little peek at step one. I’m now ready to start putting words on the page, and I’ll try to provide some insight and detail into that as I go along here over the next four months, so that you can see how one writer at least, goes about putting their story together. Happy reading/writing everyone!