Plan With Me – Step 7

Last week we hit the halfway mark in this series of posts. Instead of directing you to all of the previous posts, I will give you the link to last week’s halfway mark summary. If you decide to explore further, then you’ll have the links.

Plan With Me – Halfway Mark

This twelve step process is thorough. If you follow the guidelines, then you will be able to map  your success. For those that stick through to the very end, I’m going to give you a BONUS 3 Step Short Cut. Does that appeal to anyone?

Yes? Great! I’m with you. I’ve already done the research to  compile this series, and I’m ready to move on. It’s sort of like writing the first draft. Then in revisions, you’re  reading through and it’s easy to rush yourself because you already know the story. I’m feeling conflicted about wanting to dump the volume of information and move on and knowing that the up front work is only a matter of due diligence.  So in that vein, I’m sorry but I won’t short change  my audience  because we live in a frantic fast paced society that has only encouraged my ADHD tendencies.

No? You want to take the scenic route? Great! I’ve got my notes organized to continue laying out this master plan. I have so many notes that I could probably make this into a short book if I wanted to. Hmm.  Yeah, I could do that.  Trust me, I have  enough notes on it already. These posts aren’t even a third of the volume I’ve collected.  An expanded serial post like we used to do on Storytime Trysts. . . . I could  do that. Go drink some coffee for a few minutes while I  make a few notes on my calendar.

Alrighty, where were we?   *Reviewing while sipping coffee.* Yeah, ADHD tendencies. . . and  here folks, is an example of my level of distraction. FOCUS – it’s what I need a heavy dose of.

Step 7 – Set Up The Book

Let’s start with Structure.

Since Eclectic Bard Books publishes works of fiction,  let’s focus on   the structure for fiction books.

The structure is like the framework of your house.  A basic blueprint of a book can be broken down into 3 parts.

  1. Front matter
  2. Main body
  3. Back Matter

You thought I was going to say beginning, middle, and end didn’t you? There you go jumping ahead of me.

You may be wondering,  why would I break out the front matter and the back matter from the story itself?  Because – when you are having one of those days when your brain will not focus on the  next scene, your muse has gone off to the Caribbean with  one of your rival friends, and you are  faced with a blank screen, you can  mark off one of the items of either of those categories so your writing  time hasn’t been wasted.

I hate having to put the dreaded forward arrow in my planner that signifies moving a task to the next day because I didn’t get it accomplished.  I’m all about being able to mark off an item on the to do list. Isn’t it better to be able to mark off  that you completed something  than to have wasted the time?

Breaking down these 3 parts into smaller bites will give you items that can easily be marked off of the list.

Front Matter: 

  • endorsements  –   others recommending your book
  • half title page
  • other books by you – if this is your first book, this will be omitted.  If you only have one or a few books under your belt, then this will be a quick list  and a fast task to finish.
  • full title page
  •  copyright page – this won’t be complete until the book is uploaded and  you are almost ready to publish,  but you can  get most of it finished.
  • dedication page –  this one can be simple or complex, depending on the author.
  •  acknowledgments – again, simple or complex. This one often gets into more details, thanking individuals, acknowledging those who have helped  such as your beta readers, your editor,  location experts,  medical advisors,  experts that you’ve talked with to glean information, the barista at the coffee shop, etc.
  •  table of contents – not always required but if you are like me and like to name your chapters, it’s good to have a TOC to list them with your clever names. 🙂
  • foreword –  this is often a few words by someone respectable  that could lend value to your work
  • preface –  a bit about  your process,   your story, the content, or  a specific note from the author.

Main Body:

You would imagine that  this is where the  beginning middle and end would go, right? Sort of.  I have a two-fold process.

Part 1: story structure

  • beginning
  • middle
  • end

Part 2:  the parts within each chapter:

  • Title
  • epigraph
  • beginning/middle/end
  •  denouement

Titling your chapters isn’t necessary, it’s a matter of personal preference.  Epigraphs aren’t necessary, again –  a matter of  style. Some  genres lend themselves well to the usage of epigraphs. Aedan’s work is a great example of  using epigraphs.

Back Matter:

  • Afterword –most often, this  is a note from the author either about what inspired the story or  some aspect that  was not included in the story.
  • appendices – most often used in nonfiction
  • Resource List – most often used in nonfiction
  • Glossary – especially important if you are using foreign language, created terms, or obscure references 
  • Bibliography – most often used in nonfiction
  • Index –
  •  Author Bio – you definitely want to include this
  • Contact Information – where fans can find you
  • Blurb for Next book – This also gives you a direction for your next step and keeps you accountable to stay on track and focused on one project.

When I set up my initial file in Scrivener, I make a template for each chapter. The current project includes an epigraph.

This is a basic skeletal framework. When I outline in Scrivener, it’s like using the old index card method as I  lay out my virtual index cards on the corkboard.

By this point you should have your story concept  in mind,  the  plot  figured out or if you are a pantser, at least a direction that you want to go in. Here is  where you  can spend your time figuring out your characters because most often  the story  is character driven.

Laying out this basic structure will give you points to work on  in your daily  writing sessions. This method installs  milestones so that you know a starting and stopping point for each session. Reaching  these mini milestones gives you a sense of  accomplishment that keeps you moving forward.

If you are contracting someone else to ghost write for you,  then this framework will give you a series of checkpoints to easily check  their progress against  your timeline.

Another benefit of establishing this framework is that it allows you a better grasp for your timeline and  a realistic  date for completion.

What’s next? Research – now it’s getting fun!

‘Til then





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