Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The End is in Sight

Yesterday I was working through my plotting grid as proposed by Alexandra Sokoloff (if you haven't started working to this advice - you really should give it a go), and suddenly my ending found me.

I could see how it all plays out, the heart rendering emotion, the chills and unsettling thoughts still creeping around in the back of the readers mind, the scene, settings, payoffs from previously unconsidered plants, resolution of plans and answers to central questions, nicely wrapped up in a layered scene echoing bits that came before.

So now the skeleton of my story is laid bare in a very formulaic fashion before me. I need to research/track down three more important bits of information, and take a field trip to the location of the last third of the book. Once all the ingredients are in place, I can finish this thing quickly. I can still get the first draft done by the end of January.

I'll admit to not strictly sticking to Alex's formula. I've tweaked it a little but kept the major points in place. The scene climaxes, the midpoint, what needs to be in each act, that sort of thing is all still there. My sex at sixty (sixty pages not age sixty), as described by Alex, happens a touch later, the statement of the plan is not directly stated initially, but played out with the character. I do state it eventually though during act 2 just to make sure the reader knows what the character is trying to achieve. The sequencing is different though. Alex suggested 16 scenes in Act 1, double for Act 2, and a slightly smaller Act 3.

I've reversed engineered that a little. I wanted to write a book of around 95-100K. I want to write between 2-2500K in each paragraph. To do this, I'm looking at 40-42 chapters - definitely no more than 45.

I divide up the number of chapters so my Act 2 is double Act 1, leaving a slightly smaller Act 3 for the climax. I then figured out the correct placement of my climaxes, midpoints, etc. Plotting it all out allows me to see where I can plant things, add foreshadowing, add extra layers, and build up to the climaxes as required. I'm definitely not a pantser.

Other news in brief...

I'm about halfway through my current book for review. I've got the next two days off, so I should be able to squeeze a fair bit of reading in tomorrow and get the reviews written up and sent off tomorrow night. Thursday is booked for other activities.

Have fun and good luck with your writing

Speak soon



  1. Yesterday, I was working on my plot too. Until I got sidetracked by your link and so on and so on.
    Thx for sharing.

  2. Hi Nienke,

    Sorry if I've distracted you but Alex's lesson's on plotting are excellent - they've helped me a great deal, I hope they help you just as much.

    Let us know how you get on.