Sunday, February 24, 2013

Planning a Novel

As I set my sights on completing my next writing project, I asked myself how I was going to map out a storyline based on a man who's lived for 250 years.  That's right, the main character of my next novel is immortal--and John has had enough experiences to fill more than one book, and make a writer crazy!  I decided to get the basic structure of the story together first, and then I'd know how to fully fill in John's timeline, which is a task nearly daunting enough for a whole other blog entry!

I've put so much time into planning out this story that I thought I'd share my efforts on my blog, and possibly give other writers some ideas for organization.  I have to first say that I'd never have been able to put all this together without reading another writer's blog, The Graceful Doe.  Be sure to visit her blog and check out all her great ideas!

Since I'm nowhere near as organized as I appear to be, the outline of the story was not actually the first graphic I designed, but it was much easier to do after I did the (much more fun) character pages.

Nina Boyd.  All rights reserved.

With the help of Adobe InDesign CS5 (Thank you, Ben), I spent a lot of time planning out my character pages, right down to what their bathrooms looked like.

As I completed these layouts, I constantly referred to what I've never been able to do without: a "To Do" list:

The timeline was the most important piece for keeping my sanity, and the storyline was much less overwhelming after I made it.

Nina Boyd.
All rights reserved.

Finally, after designing a cover, I was able to upload part of the novel onto my current favorite site for sharing my writing.

Needless to say, putting together this kind of detail can be time consuming, but after doing it I really felt that these characters and the story they told were real.  I also achieved the main goal I had in doing all of this, which was to plan, plan, plan, and then be free to write to my heart's content without worrying about inadvertently creating plot holes.

I hope this is useful to all you other writers!  

You can read the first two chapters of my novel here.

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