Since my last post, I’ve been busily working on my next book. It’s been a new experience for me as I’ve always been a pantser writing, making it up as I went along. But things change, and here I am, planning like a machine!

The document with all my notes in is ten pages and growing. Now, you might be thinking that at that length it’s no longer just notes but an essay. Heck, it could be an entire first chapter of the new book. But let me explain what it involves.

Rather than just being a mishmash of random ideas, I’ve used the seven part plot structure as a framework for the notes (opening loop, first pinch, midpoint, etc.). On top of that I’ve added sections for character breakdowns, observations on the story’s setting (history, geography, etc.) and any dialogue and narrative ideas.

I’ve also introduced a few other quirks. As I haven’t currently come up with names for my characters, I’m instead using generic identifying names surrounded by angled brackets. For instance, or . And if I’ve come up with more than one idea for a particular plot point I’ll bracket it off like so, [Idea 1 // Idea 2 // Idea 3]. Nothing special, but it helps me pick out those sections that I still need to make decisions on.

The only thing I’m struggling with is the lack of a formal timetable when it comes to planning. I’m used to doing X words or Y pages per day. A clear daily target that once done, frees me up to do other things. Sure, I can put aside an hour each day to brainstorm, but most ideas come when I’m driving, at work or in the shower. It’s not to-do list friendly.

Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing what effect this has when I actually start writing the book in the new year.