Genesis of a Novel – The Scene List – Part IV

I did the next step on Misfortune of Vision (Book 4 of The Druid’s Brooch Series).

 

I wrote up my scene list with point of view, timeline and places. First were the scenes, then I placed them via a map. Then I researched the dates the background historical events took place, to make sure I anchored my pivotal scenes around these events. I also had to make sure the dates worked with the places (i.e., if I’m in Ballynoe one day, I can’t be in Emain Macha the next because my main character is a 65 year old grandmother and can’t travel 50 miles in a day! Maybe three days, even with a fresh horse). The whole book will take place during a month, From mid-January to mid-February, 1177 CE.

I have 52 scenes listed for now. That’s a bit light for me, but I’m sure it will change as I start writing. I’ll add scenes, combine them, expand the basic plot. It’s SO much easier writing a scene list with a good 3-page synopsis to work from. One novel I wrote (The Enchanted Swans) I added eight scenes right in the middle! It needed to be done. It was such a pivotal event that it needed much more treatment than I had originally planned. I think that’s the largest deviation I’ve done from my initial plan, but sometimes you have to do what’s right for the story.

 

I have two points of view in this novel. The Main Character (Orla) and her adult grandson (Declan). I listed all of her scenes first, then all of his. I then interspersed them appropriately for how it made the most sense. And for maximum tension.

Especially for when he gets offered as sacrifice to the Norse Gods. Mwhahahah!

And I have a gift for my patient readers at the end. This is the first book in the series where we get a peek INTO the world of the Faeries. In the end, someone actually travels there and sees what’s to be their home for the rest of their days. So that will be fun to describe! Each subsequent book will take place more and more inside the Faerie world.

 

This step took me only about an hour and a half to do. However, if I hadn’t had my synopsis and character list already set, I have no idea how long it would be. Much longer.

 

My next step will be to actually, finally, start writing the story. I start with Chapter I, page I. I’ve written the first couple of lines, as I dreamt of them the other night. That’s when I knew I needed to start writing the book soon, or the scenes would start bubbling up in my mind and disperse before I got them all down!

 

More parts:

 

 *****
I write historical fantasy novels, mostly set in Ireland, and a contemporary romance based on my parents’ 30-year search for true love. Don’t miss information on Celtic myth and history, as well as practical travel planning tips, and hidden places, in my travel books.
– Better To Have Loved – Contemporary romance based on the true story of my parents’ 30-year search for love
– Legacy of Hunger – Historical fantasy set in 1846 Ireland
– Legacy of Truth – Historical fantasy set around 1800 Ireland. Prequel to Legacy of Hunger. Available now!
– Legacy of Luck – Historical fantasy set in 1745 Ireland and Scotland. Prequel to Legacy of Truth, tentative release date January, 2017!
– Stunning, Strange and Secret: A Guide to Hidden Scotland
– Mythical, Magical, Mystical: A Guide to Hidden Ireland
More info at Green Dragon Artist :: Home ,
Christy Jackson Nicholas, Author , and
Tirgearr Publishing – Christy Nicholas
Green Dragon Artist Blog
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I am an artist, accountant and author living in western New York, transplanted from Denmark, Michigan, Florida, West Virginia, Pennsylvania (in that order!) I love the beauty of the world and sharing it with others through jewelry, photography, digital painting and writing.

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12 comments on “Genesis of a Novel – The Scene List – Part IV
  1. […] parts: Part I – The Beginning Part II – Research Part III – Place Part IV – Scenes […]

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  2. […] More parts: Part I – The Beginning Part II – Research Part III – Place Part IV – Scenes […]

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  3. […] . Whatever you choose for your opening scene, keep in mind you can go back and change it. Again and again and again, if necessary. Don’t let it keep you from writing the rest of the book. Make the opening scene just scene one, and know that you will come back and make it wonderful another day.  Once the whole book is written, you’ll have a much better sense of the book and what the opening lines should best be. . More parts: Part I – The Beginning Part II – Research Part III – Place Part IV – Scenes […]

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  4. […] Posted on August 30, 2016 by Green Dragon Artist — Leave a comment I started pre-writing Misfortune of Vision on July 23, 2016. On August 23, I started actually writing the first scene. Now, a week later, I’m 14,000 words in and going strong! I usually try to give myself a minimum of 2,000 a day. If I miss that, not too bad – I can usually make it up the next day or so. If I have too many misses, though, I have to give myself a stern talking to. Or at least admit that life has gotten the better of me and adjust my expectations. . One novel I wrote (Call of the Morrigu) fought hard against that 2000 word a day minimum. I had to adjust her to 1000 words a day and be happy with that. Nevertheless, she came through in the end. . Now that I’m into the ‘meat’ of my novel, my characters are beginning to come to life. Sometimes they come to life in ways I wasn’t counting on. For instance, my main character, Orla, is becoming even more bitter and sarcastic than I had first thought. And Clodagh has some sort of PSTD, probably from a childhood molestation. She also has manifested her gift of the Sight earlier than I had anticipated. . My antagonist, Declan, has turned into a sympathetic main character in his own right, with his own antagonist. The smith, Trygve, is becoming a great character. First a mentor, teaching Declan some basics of the blacksmithing art, then he becomes the Bad Guy by trying to take Declan’s girl. It’s all becoming much more complex than I had originally planned. . This is a good thing! . Even the best planner cannot plan EVERYTHING in their novel. I find it much easier to let the characters speak to me. At one point, I was going to have Declan pull a Jean Val Jean, and steal from a priest who was kind to him. He told me on no uncertain terms that he was not that desperate, thank you very much. The priest was kind and he was honorable… at least for now. . Yes, this may mean adding scenes, deleting them, adding characters, changing subplots, and maybe even changing part of your main plot. Go with it. Your muse speaks through you and your characters. Go with the flow! Any other cliches I can throw out here? Oh, I know… Let it go!  . More parts: Part I – The Beginning Part II – Research Part III – Place Part IV – Scenes […]

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  5. […] Posted on September 12, 2016 by Green Dragon Artist — Leave a comment Now I’m into the ‘meat’ of a novel. The daily slog and joy of writing each scene out. I’m a planner, and I love writing them in order that they will be in the book. Not everyone writes like that. Diana Gabaldon, for instance, has said she writes random scenes all over the timeline and then connects them. I’ve got to see my path, the winding turns, and the crossroads before I start walking. Of course, it can change. At the moment, my wordcount is 23,253. Most of the novels in this series are around 100K to 120K words long, so this isn’t even 25% through. However, I do keep track of my progress. I have 65 scenes planned out, and I’ve done 16 of them. That means my ending wordcount as it is looks to be about 95K words.  A little on the light side, but I’ll go back and beef up some scenes with action or description later. Or I could add three scenes were one was (just did that). I was supposed to be writing 2,000 words a weekday, and I started three weeks ago, so technically I should have 30,000 words written. However, I went to Dragoncon, so that was five days I wasn’t writing. It happens. It’s not tragic. It’s understandable. Back to the grindstone, though! Also, new subplots might pop up. That just happened in my last scene. The main character, a 65-year old grandmother, might have a love interest. An old soldier, chief raider, cousin to her king. Of course, she’s cousin to the king as well. Most of the older folk of the clan are related in some way to the king. It’s called a derbfine, anyone who shares a grandfather to the king. It’s from the derbfine that the next king is usually chosen, not necessarily the son of the present king. That means a king has to groom his chosen successor, and still it won’t be assured. Men of the clan must choose the wisest leader. Oh, I’m digressing down the path of historical research. Sorry! I do that a lot while writing. I get caught into a rabbit hole. Hopefully that research pays off later, but often it’s just background information I keep in mind while writing. It is certainly possible to get so lost in the incidental research that you forget to write. Don’t let it happen too often, or you’ll never finish! More parts: Part I – The Beginning Part II – Research Part III – Place Part IV – Scenes […]

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  6. […] Posted on September 28, 2016 by Green Dragon Artist — Leave a comment The dreaded “Boggy Middle” of the novel has arrived. . That is the part of writing the first draft where you are past the initial giddy excitement and dread of the opening – where you introduce characters and -set up plots and subplots – but aren’t yet to the exciting climax or denouement. . The middle is necessary. You can’t have just the intro and the ending – every piece must have a middle. It is the glue that holds the story together. But it truly does feel, especially when writing the first draft, like you are slogging through a sticky mire of unrelenting bog. . How do you keep the middle from being boggy? Well, there are several aspects of that bogginess. And there is no one answer to any of the issues. . First, it’s boggy in creating it. You get excited when you first start a draft, and then when you see the end in sight, that light at the end of the tunnel. But in between it’s a long slog. I try to keep a minimum word count each day – 1000, 2000, whatever I’m comfortable with. If I get more than that, fantastic! If not, keep plugging along. Sometimes a scene will explode in my mind and I can’t type enough to get it out. Other times it’s like pulling teeth. But step by step the scenes happen and the draft gets written. It’s all about momentum at this point. . Second, it may be boggy in action/plot. This is an issue that needs to be addressed before the final draft, but is very common in a first draft. The action slags. The hero is be-bopping along, and nothing exciting happens. Too many subplots confuscate things. The reader feels bored. If it’s too boggy, they throw the book against the wall and quit trying. That is more difficult to fix. As an author, it’s important to carefully craft your plot so that there are ups and downs throughout the book. It can’t be ALL ACTION ALL THE TIME, (after all, this isn’t an Ironman movie). On the other hand, too little action can make for lots of yawns. . Space out your heavy scenes with setup scenes. Have a minor climax, or several of them, throughout the book, leading up to the Big Finish. Again, this is sometimes difficult to do in the first draft. You may not even notice it until you read through it – or someone else does. This is a reason why critiques are important. They can see things you’ve gone author-blind to. . The soggy boggy mired middle isn’t a death sentence, and it isn’t horrible… but it does need to be dealth with, addressed, and conquered. All hail the conquering hero! More parts: Part I – The Beginning Part II – Research Part III – Place Part IV – Scenes […]

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  7. […] Posted on November 4, 2016 by Green Dragon Artist — Leave a comment Procrastination is such a wonderful thing. How else would author houses ever get cleaned? . Many times I’ve been facing a project that seemed too big, too difficult, too annoying, too boring, and ended up with a clean house, mowed yard, or even a happy husband😀 . However, even as a lifelong procrastinator, I’ve managed to get a few things done over the years. It’s so easy to fall into the trap, but it can also be escaped if you have the proper tools. . My favorite one is to start with little bites. The smallest part of your project, the easiest bit, the least annoying chunk. Or at least the part you know how to do. Whittle away at the project until it looks less intimidating. Perhaps you’re supposed to write a scene you aren’t ready for – write the next one instead, or skip several ahead. Once you’ve completed some of the little bits, the rest might not look so intimidating. . Another tool I use is the opposite – tackle the biggest, worst, heaviest task first. Once you get this monster out of the way, the rest looks like easy-peasy work you can do in your sleep. . NaNoWriMo is another tool to battle the ever-present writers’ procrastination disease. For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s National Novel Writing Month, held each November. Writers sign up and promise to write (not edit, just write!) 50,000 words during the month of November. There are support groups online and in real life, and you upload your words (just for the count) each day to keep track of your progress. You get badges and prizes when you complete goals, and when you’re done, you have a novel written! Or at least most of one. . I’ve got a confession. I’ve never done NaNoWriMo. I emulate it when I am in ‘novel-writing-mode’, as I put a minimum of 2,000 words a day on myself. But I’ve never gotten into that mode anywhere near November 1, so I just do my own thing. So far I’ve written six novels and am 2/3 through my seventh, all in the last four years, so I must be doing something that works for me! . Right now, however, I’m procrastinating my WIP. To be fair, I do have some good excuses, and some not so good. Life got hectic for a while. Work got hectic as well, and I worked long hours at the end of the quarter. Then my editor sent me a set of edits on #LegacyofLuck (Druid’s Brooch #3) which is due out in January, and I had to work on that. . Oh, what a project that was! I had no idea I loved passive voice so much. I nuked so many instances of the words ‘to be’. ‘Was’ alone accounted for 2400 of my 105,000 words. I got that down to under 500. Then I realized I had to do the same sweep on my other two finished manuscripts, so I nuked through #TheEnchantedSwans. Now I’m working on Call of the Morrigu. Next I’ll hit up #MisfortuneofVision (Druid’s Brooch #4) … and then, just maybe, I can continue writing my WIP. . However, last night I submitted my first scene of #MisfortuneofVision to my author group for critique. They loved it, but made some excellent suggestions about it, including a whole new opening scene. So I may work on that before I add words. It will have to supplant this scene completely. . I also dreamt last night about a collection of five related short stories that I want to write about cats battling children’s nightmares. But that must be tabled. I’ve written the idea down, so I can get to it later. . So many plotbunnies! . What are your favorite ways of battling procrastination? More parts: Part I – The Beginning Part II – Research Part III – Place Part IV – Scenes […]

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