I've come to realize that creating a good book takes master planning. Before, I tried outlining the novel according to ideas I visualized as being an integral part of the story, but when I tested some of those outlined segments against the litmus test of whether micro-tension occurs, or that definite things and countering obstacles are happening (beats and swings), they fizzled out by the time they got onto paper.
I decided scene cards are the way to go. I had already started cards, but they weren't helping me enough--they're were simply mini-synopses of each chapter. I'm methodical by nature, and after scouring for a way to get swiftly and effectively from point A to point B, I came across an email from an editor that attended my Chicago writing workshop last year. In this email, she provided a scene card template about the size of an index card that has the following information on it:
Time / place:
Beats / Swings:
Images / Notes / Dialogue:
What makes this scene important / critical:
This new way of writing scene cards has been revolutionary for me; it really forces me to integrate my thoughts revolving around a number of fiction writing components It was not only painless, but fun to write my first new scene card yesterday, and I came up with new and interesting ideas that I would not have come up with otherwise had I only wrote a mini-synopsis as before.
I tend to write a multi-sentence synopsis, so I wrote my synopsis on the back of the card. As for the beats, those are pieces of action with a goal in mind, whereas a swing is a change in strategy toward a goal, or denotes that the goal has changed. i've just started understanding this concept. I'll think about a good example in the coming days to add to this post, but if you have an example, would you post it in a comment? That would be really helpful.
As I've already said, I have about 70,000 words, many embedded in passages which need to be rearranged elsewhere in the form of flashbacks, or thrown out completely.
Still, I'm shooting for a total of 100,000 because it's a nice neat word count target. I'm going to divide the book into approximately 50 scenes, again because it's a nice neat way of dividing up a book since that equates to about 2,000 words per scene. About 20 scenes will be part of the historical storyline, and about 30 scenes will constitute the modern storyline. Since I'm going to start flat out writing on November 1st, for the next seven days until that date I'm going to write about 7 scenes a day in the format I've listed above.