Faeries and yWriter

All those people who said the elves story was more appropriate for NaNo were right.  After starting to try and outline Dragon of the Fen it became clear to me that I need to do way more research.  I need timelines and maps and to look up what is known about people on the Norman side, who I had hitherto ignored, like William de Warenne.  It’s all very well making up fictional characters, but unless I want to start making up fictional major players in the political landscape of the time, I need to know to which lords those characters owe allegiance, what happened to them, and which Normans took over from them, when.

So, I’m going to have to re-read my numerous text books and make copious notes, and I just don’t have time before November.

Which means it’s “Away with the Faeries”, a rural paranormal featuring well dressing, the Nine Ladies stone circle on Stanton moor, morris dancing and troublesome phantoms in an upmarket health spa.

I tried very hard to outline both Dragon of the Fen and Away with the Faeries using yWriter which looked like a fantastic thing.  I know at least one writer who swears by Scrivener, and yWriter is the nearest thing available for the PC (with the bonus that it’s free).  And I look at these things and think “how cool does that look?  I bet that would make things a lot easier than doing all my notes and outlining in longhand.  And it even produces your synopsis for you!”

So, I got it, and I spent two days filling in character sheets and scene details and links to information on locations etc for Dragon of the Fen, and I ground to a halt and thought “this is a hell of a lot of work, and I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere.  All it’s giving me is stuff I don’t want.”

Today, I took my longhand notebook and a pen, sat down on the sofa, and said “OK 50,000 words = 20 chapters of 2,500 words each.  I wrote down the numbers from one to twenty and for each one filled in something that could happen, which followed on from what had happened before and lead into what was going to happen later.

I already have character descriptions.  Ben looks like Rupesh from Torchwood CoE.  Chris looks like tank-top man from that episode of Dr. Who where the Master came back.  Grace looks like Mma Makutsi from the No.1 detective agency, and everyone else can get described as they come along.  I do try to be organised, but I think it’s counterproductive.  I can never really get the book moving until I abandon the character cards and scenes and storyboarding and just do it.

So, I’m armed with 20 paragraphs of rough outline, and for this book I think that’s all I’m going to need.

Once I’ve done my research for DotF, armed myself with timelines of the battle and have a clearer idea of the difference between the rights of stallage, picage, pannage, murage and pontage, I may try the yWriter again. I’ll certainly have a lot of notes which might benefit from being collected in one place.

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Elle Parker
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That numbered notebook idea is brilliant! I'm always looking for new and better ways to organize my thinking while I'm plotting out a book, and I think this will be very useful me. I'm learning that I need to be plotter to write well, but I'm not that good at plotting…..

Also – I saw False Colors on the bookshelf at B&N in Duluth, MN, USA the other day and thought you'd to know.

Elle Parker

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