Tag Archives: writing process

Writing loglines

Wizard of Oz logline – Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.
Awesome, in a wrong yet funny way.

Right under ‘title’ on Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet, there’s a little box called ‘tag line’ (but should really be called ‘logline’), which, frankly, used to scare the whatsits out of me.

What’s a logline?

A logline is your short story, novel or epic fantasy saga, summarised in a single sentence. It’s your pitch, your calling card, the line you pull out whenever you’re asked what your book is about.

Why do you need one?

Because, if you’re standing in an elevator and someone says they’ll give you a million dollars if you can tell them what your book’s about in ten seconds flat, what do you say?

It had better not be ‘umm’.  Continue reading

Phase drafting and writing faster

Writing faster than greased lightning is one of the holy grails of writing, or, at least, it is in my world. The thought of being able to whip out a decent first draft in under two months makes me giddy, let alone one. While there are many methods that can help you do that, phase drafting is the one that works for me.

At it’s most basic, phase drafting is the step between your outline (if you have one) and your first draft. If you’re a pantser, it’s like outlining without actually outlining and if you’re a plotter, it’s a way to test drive your plot, fill in holes and follow any interesting tangents that come along. For a more comprehensive description, read ‘It’s Just a Phase’.

Note: the Self-Publishing Podcast team uses the same method, but with a different name, which they explain in episode 64 of their podcast. They’ve also provided a sample document, which is well worth the download.  Continue reading

Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet and Scrivener

A screenshot of my novel ' class=
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I love the beat sheet’s word count per beat.

About the same time I revisted the BS2, Jami Gold posted an excellent article about using beat sheets with Scrivener. What I liked most about the article was the idea of using the target word count for individual chapters and scenes to lay out the beats.

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to word counts, I find big numbers like 100k pretty intimidating. One of the beauties of the beat sheet is that it breaks down these numbers into manageable chunks. For a 100k-word novel, however, some of those chunks are still 25k words, so I took the idea one step further, with Scrivener.  Continue reading

Blake Synder's Beat Sheet, with template

Cover of Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
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If you want to understand how the beat sheet works, check out this book.

Best for those outling a new work.

What’s awesome about it

  • The word count for each beat

What’s not-so-awesome

  • It’s daunting, especially when your manuscript is half-written
  • No capacity to outline subplots

The awesome

When I first came across Blake Synder’s Beat Sheet (BS2), I was half-way through the manuscript for Hero and the word count for each beat made me to blanch. The idea of trying to shoehorn my (at that point in time) pantsed story into all of those little boxes (opening image, catalyst, black moment) with their prescribed word counts, was more than my brain could take, but when I went back to the BS2, a new story in mind, they appeared as godsends.  Continue reading

First Draft in 30 Days – The Wiesner method

The cover of First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Wiesner
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That’s one seductive title.

When a book has a title like First Draft in 30 Days, it can be hard to pass up. If it’s sitting on the shelf at your local library, passing it up is practically impossible, which is why I picked Karen Wiesner’s attractively title book.

The idea that I could write a first draft, or in Wiesner’s case, an incredibly detailed outline (which she equates to a first draft), is seductive. So far, it hasn’t happened yet (mostly, because I’m currently writing the second draft of another work) but the dream remains. Continue reading

Battling personal demons with a notebook

My notebook, where I excise my personal demons, turned to the page that reads 'trust your gut'.
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The battleground, where I wage war against my personal demons.
Determining your writing process isn’t just about brainstorming and planning, it’s also about conquering the personal demons that are holding you back.

For me, writing has been as much about personal growth as it has been about learning the correct use of the semi-colon. It’s hard and scary, but in the long run, it’s more than worth it.

More than with your writing process, you need to find your own way to deal with the things that hold you back. Here’s how I’m dealing with one of mine. Continue reading

The World-building Leviathan and a Scrivener template

My first fantasy map
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World-building is fun, especially when you start making maps!

Created by Kitty Chandler at KittySpace, the World-building Leviathan is a great method of world-building while  developing your plot. The best thing is, it’s non-genre-specific so you can use it without feeling restricted by your chosen genre. Continue reading

Exploring the Snowflake method

The Snowflake method is the brainchild of Randy Ingermanson. Freely available online, it’s one of the first methods/writing processes that I started playing around with. It’s great for plotters, although pantsers might like to give it a pass, since it’s heavy on the planning. There’s also no world-building to speak of, but there’s nothing to stop you slotting in something like the 30 Days of World-building Exercises to suit your needs.  Continue reading

My writing process – Getting started

For the most part, I’m an organised soul, so when I decided to create a writing process that worked for me, my first step was to establish:

  • My goals – what I want to accomplish
  • The method – how I’m going to go about the process, and
  • The tools I’m going to use.

It took a little less than an hour, and (so far) its been an invaluable framework on which to base my explorations and measure my success. Continue reading

Exploring the writing process

Books on writing processes, including First Draft in 30 Days and What Would Your Charater Do?
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Just some of the writing books in my reading pile.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent time trying to figure out the how to write a book. Not just the putting pen to paper bit, but the step-by-step process of planing, outlining and drafting. You’ve probably read books with titles like First Draft in 30 Days and No Plot? No Problem!. You might even have flirted with beat sheets, the Snowflake method, phase drafting and a hundred and one other techniques that promise to make your writing life easier. Continue reading