Back to Makepeace & Grimes today, and I’ve been concluding one branch of the plot which means I’m ready to embark on another. In the past, this has meant simply kicking things off and seeing where I end up (this is called Discovery Writing or Pantsing in the trade and it’s a technique used by roughly half of my favourite writers) but I’m always keen to try new things, especially in search of getting more words written per day.
I don’t think I’ll ever become a classic outliner/plotter in the JK Rowling tradition, but I’d like to move a little closer to it for two reasons. Firstly, it definitely helps fight off the procrastination demon if I know what I’m supposed to be writing about when I settle onto the sofa at 7am. Secondly, good stories have a structure and while I have obeyed this at a birds-eye level throughout my writing (eg the "hero sets out", "midpoint" and "dark night of the soul" points), I think my stories could benefit from being a little tighter in this regard.
So, having examined a number of structures – some more comprehensive and detailed than others – I’ve settled on the approach from "Save the Cat Writes a Novel" which has, for me, just the right balance. I’ve spent several hours today working on the plot for the entire book and it’s been in turns frustrating and enjoyable.
We’ll just have to see whether I follow it when it comes to writing the book and, if I do, if it means I write quicker and produce a better story. Time will tell.