Daily Joe, October 11
And here we are. Part three of the magic-making process.
Welcome to Monday on Brynn's Daily Joe!!!
Before we get started, Enforcer came out today! Whoot!!! Writing my first not so good guy was AhMAZING! I had so much fun. Before I get started into writing process details, I thought I'd show you what my writing space looked like while doing Enforcer. I use Scrivener which allows me to customize my background (and if you read the text and find any typos or clunkiness, keep in mind that this is from drafting mode and not my edited final version. If it looks great to you, maybe go buy the book [wink wink])
But down to business. Writing Process, Part 3.
I mean...sometimes, part of the process is being inspired, but that's a different story. We're talking concrete plans not concrete abs.
Last Thursday, I went over the foundation I setup with concept and characters. (you can find it HERE)
On Friday, I discussed the 16-Point plot strategy. (you can find it HERE)
But once you have that in place, what do you do? Maybe, you start writing. Maybe, that's all you need. But for me, there are three more things I do before I start writing.
Taking each plot point, I set up the chapter by chapter. Here is a look at the beginning of Step Challenge. I think you can read the actual chapters this outline covers on Amazon's "look inside" for the book. (again I will point out that this screen clip is from my notes. There are typos. It is my life)
So, as you see here, it's plot point one and the name of that point. This was actually the 12th thing I figured out while plotting (see Friday about plot points and order). Then I write in my actual plot point for this book.
Beginning: Barrett finds out that his dad married Petra's mom. He's wanted to get together with Petra for almost 4 years. He storms out. Then Petra's reaction to Barrett's attitude about the marriage. (what are the story stakes?)
Taking that point, I broke down three chapters. When I do this, I mark the chapter number, whose point of view we'll be in and give a very brief description of the chapter. You'll see Theme of story stated in chapter one. I discussed theme in Thursday's foundation blog. Then, because I suck at timelines and always need to go back and track what happened when, I have a column for timeline.
Again for the pantsers in the back: my whole summary of chapter one, not including the theme of the book, is 7 words of a 2207 word chapter.
Going point by point, I set up chapters for the entire book before I go on. Sometimes a point will take one chapter, sometimes two and occasionally three or four. You need to go by feel here. What fits your story, word count and that particular plot point?
Then I do something that will make some of your heads spin. Be warned, there's some math involved.
At this point, I figure out what happens on every page of my book. Yes, you read that right.
To do this:
Intended word count of the book DIVIDED BY 250. This gives you the number of pages in your book (don't explain that that's not accurate. I'm just saying a new thing happens approximately every 250 words).
Then you DIVIDE your page number by the number of chapters you want in the book (For me that doesn't include the epilogue, which is a special rogue cowboy that never seems to follow the plan)
Now, you know how many pages you'll have in the book. For In Plain Sight, it was 14 chapters with approximately 6 pages each. Here's a peek at my chapter one break down. As you can see this isn't hard-hitting, earth-shaking stuff. The plot point is Beginning: Carter at school (in witness protection) meets Hilaria and is instantly attracted to her.
This is how I broke that down:
How do I write 4K-10K in a day on writing days, which admittedly isn't every day? I never sit down to write without knowing what I'm going to be writing. Again, I still have a lot of leeway. 10 words is a lot different from 250 words.
By doing this, I also see up front where there might be holes in the story, where things need to be combined and where I might need to add. It was at this point in Knight Time Kiss and In Plain Sight, that I needed to add two chapters in each book.
Okay... so now we're ready to get writing?
One. More. Thing.
Now, I do an element sheet for each chapter. HONESTLY, I don't always do this ahead of starting the book. In fact, I USUALLY do this a few chapters at a time. If I know I'm planning to write chapters 1-3 today, then I will do the element sheet for chapters 1-3. While I'm writing my initial draft of the chapter, this is imperative, but it comes in most handy when I'm editing the book and/or doing my final draft. I might skip some of these elements while initially drafting, but they're things I need added for the final draft. They're the TEXTURE and it's also a bit of check and balance. Did I use description? Did I send a character to the home for forgotten characters? Did I mention that tic that helps define the character? What the heck are they wearing? Have I made it clear what the timeframe is in relation to the last part I wrote (or did I established it for this section since it's the opening)?
Before I go further, here's a look at my element sheet. It's kinda messy because I write out this part pretty fast:
I originally talked about this in a "scene cards" write-up where I went into some depth back in my blog post The Art of Plot in March 2018. Remember last Thursday when I said that my method has evolved over the years? That will show you. My old method was easier BUT the writing was harder. I have more up front work now, but man, are books easier to write. I think they're better, too.
One thing that hasn't changed much is the scene cards... Except I moved them from a large index card and into a notebook. I expanded on one item (sensory) and added one item (clothes). Otherwise, it's pretty much the same as I've used for years.
Once I've done that...I'm off!
Thank you for coming along with me on this journey through how I set up a book and what my writing process is. I'd love to hear from you. Do you want to know what I do after this? Let me know.
Tomorrow, I'll be back to my regularly scheduled Daily Joe posts!
Today, October 11, 2021
I'm celebrating the release of Enforcer with Kyra Nyx!!
I'm also writing 2K each on Wife Bait and After Z.
Zombie and Vampires?! There really is a Santa Claus, Virginia!!! (Or maybe that should be a Great Pumpkin, LOL)
Talk to ya tomorrow!