Tag Archives: Mark Lord’s Writing

Adapted Snowflake Method: How I’m writing my novel at the moment

I’m currently in the early stages of actually writing my novel Hell has its Demons at the moment. Because of the complexity of writing within a historical background I have been taking a carefully planned approach to writing and employing the techniques of the snowflake method, where you build up the plot structure of the novel gradually, while alternating between planning aspects such as character background. The last two stages of the snowflake process are to go through the whole plot of the book and write a synopsis of each chapter. I have started doing this and also used this as an opportunity to work out at each stage how much actual background material I need. For instance which part of a castle or Abbey do I actually need to describe and plan, which minor characters will be featured, what’s their role and what do I need to know about them. This method has worked fairly well so far.

But I also thought that while I was doing that I would start on the first couple of chapters of the book as well, just to get myself in the mood for working with my characters. And this is when I had a revelation about how I wrote. I found that I started to find out new things about the characters and the situations I was putting them in as actually put the words, sentences and paragraphs on screen that described their thoughts and actions. Mapping a list of what occurred in a chapter or even detailing the character arc in a chapter just wasn’t the same. Only when I came to writing what the characters did and how they talked and felt did I really start to know them.

So where does that leave the process of writing Hell has its Demons?

I think the principles are still the same. I find it useful to work out beforehand what will happen in each chapter and also do some work on researching and creating the settings and minor characters that my characters will interact with, before I actually write the narrative. But I think what I will do from now on is to plan each chapter just before I write it or perhaps be planning  few chapters ahead, so that I don’t lose touch with the development of my characters.

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First Draft of The Knight Who Wouldn’t Die is done!

Managed to finish off the first draft of my current short story this morning! Wahey! Well pleased with this.

Also changed the name a bit, after all not many people will know who my character Jake is just yet. So the working title is now “The Knight Who Wouldn’t Die”. I think that’s intriguing enough, but also there’s a little twist in the meaning of it as well as will become clear for anyone who get’s a chance to read it.

I got up early this morning to write for a change, something I haven’t done in a while, and this definitely helped – mind too zoned, yet clear, to be distracted by anything else except writing narrative. Seemed to work well. I will have to grit my teeth and do this more often.

Next step for the story is for me to read it through a couple of times and make some edits. I’m not looking to cut it down too much, which is a relief. It comes in at about 4,700 words, which I think is fairly acceptable for most publications. Once the editing is done I will send it off to Critters and OWW for some feedback.

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Sometimes You Just Need to Keep Writing

One of the hardest things in writing can just be getting started. Whether it’s starting a new piece of work or at the beginning of a writing session to get the first few words out.

Another key factor sometimes is just to keep yourself going. I’ve got to a bit of a mid-narrative doldrums in my story at the moment. I don’t think it’s because of the story itself, but probably because some of my initial enthusiasm has drained a little bit, and energy levels have been a bit lower this week for a number of reasons – probably because it’s so damn cold!

So yesterday and today it has been a bit of a struggle. Today I got through a few paragraphs, and I thought “well maybe that’s enough for today”. But I kept going a bit further and the writing seemed to come a bit easier and picked up. I think once I got over the 20-30 minute mark my writing brain started to spark into life a bit.

I’m not saying the writing was great, but at least I felt a bit more inspired and got further through the narrative than I thought I would.

Don’t give up – an obvious but also very pertinent motto to have!

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Two Poems on Praeter Naturam

Poem About Writing Poetry
Image by Merry~Blues via Flickr

Just to let you know I have posted two poems – not exactly new, as I wrote them a while ago, but new to this site. Hope you enjoy them. I am hoping to add the occasional poem to the site on an ongoing basis.

I think that writing poetry is a great way for a fiction writer to think about words and their meaning in a more precise way.

Downers and Time Slips

Stoical Persistence

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