Moving the plot around

Book news

First, some book news. The publication date for Stars Beyond has changed. It’s now January 21, 2020.

The original date we were given was January 20, but that’s the Monday, and Tuesday is normal publication day. I see it’s in all the online bookstores as January 21, so I’m going with that date, rather than the 20th.

Plotting

While we’re waiting for the edits back from Anne, we’re working on another book. (We’re always working on a book.) We haven’t spoken to our agent about this one—yet—as we’d like to get it into better shape before we do. It’s one we’ve been working on a while. Past first draft, onto its fourth of fifth.

Last time we looked at this story, we thought it was okay. One draft away from sending to our agent.

We reread the story, still laughed at the funny bits, and still liked the characters. This time we saw a few things we could change, though. There were a couple of minor continuity issues, plus some very short chapters. One-or-two-page chapters, in fact.

This is the difference time away from a story makes. Around about now in any story, we do a chapter outline. This is to ensure the story works, to see if there are any big holes, and to check if the timing works. Because we knew there were so many short chapters, this time we summarized each chapter in Post-It notes and put the Post-It notes onto a wall so we could move them around.

This is the first round. If you count, you will see sixty-eight Post-It notes. (Note that you can only see the Post-It notes, not the story, as we don’t want to give away the plot. :-))

The story is currently 105,000 words, and we go roughly 250 words per page. That makes each chapter on average around six pages. That’s short. We try to make them around 20 pages per chapter.

A little bit of reorganising is required.

Note too, that the Post-Its are color-coded for character point-of-view. There are five colors on that wall. Two is good, one is better. Not five.

So, we reorganized.

We got down to forty-five Post-Its. That’s still too many, but it’s getting better. We’ll work on it. We even combined points-of-view in two places (the Post-Its that have two colors). We did a lot of moving around the story to get this far.

Maybe we’re not as finished as we think we are.

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