Diary of a novel: The Beast Within (Week 2) – planning work

We took last week off for the bank holiday. The last time we booked time off was a fortnight in June, when the heatwave was at its height. But we didn’t get to enjoy a single moment of it as we were moving house.

So we decided to take last week off. And this time we were firm. We had a proper, bona fide week off, for a change.

Because of that, I hardly did anything to The Beast Within.

However, we did sort of sort out the desk in the living room – well, we made a start by emptying the drawers, clearing the top, and buying foolscap suspension files for our day-to-day household filing.

And I was able to do what little work I did complete on the book at this desk.

The Marshall Plan works with section sheets. The majority of these sections are action sections, and a handful are reaction sections. They’re a bit like scenes, with each sheet having a goal and whether or not the character for this sheet achieved this goal. It depends on the length of the novel how many section sheets there are.

I calculated that for my novel, with an initial target of 75,000 – 80,000 words, I need 60 section sheets. I had enough printouts of each of the section action/reaction sheets, and so I prepared those and put them into my binder.

There are three surprises, and those sheets (included in the 60) also went into the binder.

Because I’m quite a linear planner, I also prepared a double-sided A4 page with 1 – 30 down the first side and 31 – 60 down the other side. This enabled me to place my surprises.

The only section page I did any writing for was the opening section page. This starts with my lead character (Marcie Craig) and sets the scene for the bulk of the novel (Barney’s nightclub).

And that’s it. That’s all I managed for week 2.

The coming week
This coming week I have a five-day working week. I have one book to finish editing for lovely already client and a new one to start. I have my own book to proofread, which comes out on 30 November. And I now have two adventures to start writing up for the Alphabet Adventurers.

I should have done some character work for The Beast Within by now, but I’ll probably be doing that this week. As my days are already quite full, this may be done of an evening. When I was writing Night Crawler, I had a full time job and I wrote that of an evening. It only took me three months … this one has already taken considerably longer.

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