2, The Colony: Endings, was written after constructing a plan using a
spreadsheet. Each chapter had a plan consisting of about five lines
listing the main plot developments. As characters appeared they were
listed in a separate sheet giving their names, profession/role, age,
height, hair colour, general build and any other significant
characteristics. This was a useful reference when returning to a
character after several chapters. It was also very useful when
significant time elapsed during the story or for a subsequent book. I
created a copy of the
character list so that it could be edited for the new time-frame. There
was also a sheet for recording a word count for each chapter, the total
word count and an estimate for the number of pages. A new column of
figures was created alongside the previous one for each draft of the
story so that progress could be easily monitored.
Each chapter was written using speech recognition software (I suffer
RSI) and then a word processor for combining the chapters and final
editing. The existence of word processors makes editing and keeping
copies of previous versions stright forward. Hence it easy to plan to
develop the story through several drafts. I am a plot focused writer
and prefer this approach rather than trying to produce the full work at
the first attempt.
In the first draft I wrote the story concentrating on plot
development and introducing all of the characters. This amounted to
almost 50,000 words, about 70% of the final work.
In the second draft I concentrated on fleshing out the
characters, more on how they were feeling about events and some
retuning of the story possibly to the extent of adding a chapter and
raising a minor character to a middle/major character. These changes
were added to the plan and list of characters. Another 9000 words.
In the third draft I concentrated on describing the
weather more fully, what characters were wearing and a bit more on
describing the environment of events in the story. Another 8000 words.
Drafts two and three both included minor developments to the plot and
The fourth (final) draft was for fine tuning all of the
above. Another 4000 words. The final word count was about 70,000 which
turned into 218 pages @ 320 words/page.
This book took about six months to complete. This time could have been
reduced by treating it as a full-time job rather than a part-time job.
I kept a pen and notepad by the side of the bed so that I could jot
down ideas and improvements that came to mind as inevitably the story
popped into my mind as soon as I tried to go to sleep. Much better to
write them down than worry about whether you would remember them in the
morning. It is possible to write in the dark. Start on a new page and
I much preferred writing this book compared with the
first one because
of the increased opportunity to revise the work, to improve it, to get
right. First and even second thoughts are not always best. However,
there are certainly authors who write the story fully formed, you may
be one of those.