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If you have an idea for a novel that you want to write as a piece of speculative fiction, how do you go about planning? Or indeed, do you go about planning? There are writers out there who prefer to write by the seat of their pants, the so-called pantsers.
I’m a hybrid (why do it the easy way when you can make it hard on yourself) and do a mixture of both. My simple planning strategy is, by definition, simple.
Stage 1: Think of a Title – This is what I use to write towards. The focus is the title, sometimes I also design a temporary cover first (as above) and focus and write towards that.
Stage 2: What your book is about? Give titles to three stages in the book. What is the starting point? What’s the main thrust of the story? Where does it end?
Stage 3: Create a series of scene titles under each of the three stages of the book. These describe the action taking place within the three main stages of your book.
And that’s the basis. So here’s what I’ve come up with for The Brittle Land, part 2 in The Brittle Saga Trilogy and sequel to The Brittle Sea.
The Brittle Land
The outbreak of WW1
The Search for the Truth of Richard Blackmore and Maggie
Magda Builds a Business Empire
Peter Asparov WW1 Battlefield
The Spanish Flu Pandemic
Peter Goes Home
The Spanish Flu Devastation
The Great Depression
Wall Street Crash 1929
Hey-presto, I have an outline. At this stage, let me point out that the above isn’t necessarily the way The Brittle Land is actually going to pan out. I would be mad to do that and spoil any enjoyment readers have of The Brittle Sea and the sequel, The Brittle Land. But for all intents and purposes for our exercise, this is the way I create a simple plan to work to. You would obviously have more scene titles than I’m showing here.
This is by no means a rigid outline. It simply gives you an idea of where you are headed. Once I’m happy with the outline, that’s when I settle down in my office, with a cup of coffee and my trusty dog at my side and do a little pantsing.
Happy writing, people. Power to your fingers.
Copyright © Tom Kane 2020
The Brittle Sea (The Brittle Saga Trilogy Book 1)
The Titanic disaster sparks a bloody feud between families in early 20th century America.
Drama – Family Saga – Historical Fiction – Historical Romance
‘The ship shuddered once more and then lurched with shocking violence. Ice came crashing down onto the deck at the prow of the ship.’
‘The cold was beginning to bite into her. Fingers and toes were burning, becoming numb, despite the thick ship’s blankets she was wrapped in.’
‘Rostron knew those who didn’t make it into a lifeboat and jumped into the sea, even wearing lifejackets, were most likely dead due to the extreme cold.’
‘It was a scene from an age gone by, a saloon with sawdust on the floor, spittoons gathering dust and extract of human.’
‘Information was power and Harker wielded that power expertly, another string to his blackmailers bow.’
Branches scraped against a windowpane and suddenly she realised she didn’t know where she was. The last thing she remembered was a ship, the cold, the ice, the brittle sea.
‘Turmoil had put her body into a coma and until one or the other entity prevailed, life was on hold, delicately balanced on the edge of the abyss, and death.’
‘The girl pulled a small pistol from the sling with her free arm and levelled it at him. It was then, too late, that he knew who she was.’
‘In a final act of contrition, New York’s rain washed the blood away and the sins of a family washed into the gutter where they belonged.’