Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hal 4 - Plot Done

Okay, I've just finished combining all my plot junk into a brand new yWriter project. (In the end I wrote an importer which took my text file full of paragraphs and created a fresh scene from each one, using the whole para as the long description and the first sentence of the same para for the short scene title.)

I decided to program the importer for 3 scenes per chapter, then ran it. Imagine my surprise when the finished chapter count ended up at 33. All three Hal Spacejock books to date have had exactly 32 chapters, and the funny thing about this one is that 3 scenes (1 chapter) are just markers for the start, middle and end points. I removed those and my plot outline came out at exactly 32 chapters. It's a sign, I tell you.

Now, bear in mind I still have two folders on my hard drive - one is Hal 4 2005 and the other, Hal 4 2006. Each contains a substantial, but unfinished, draft of the book with very different plots and totally different characters. My job now is to start writing Hal 4 2007 and only take bits from those earlier efforts which fit this one. Everything else will be thrown into my spare parts folder.

So, do I like the new plot? Yes I do. My only concern is that the event which drives the major plot story doesn't occur until several chapters have passed. But hey, I've never claimed to be part of the SMS generation. I even enjoyed the first hour of Peter Jackson's King Kong.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)


Julia Buckley said...

Great stuff - glad to hear you've been making such good progress. Hope I can get to that stage sometime!

Anonymous said...

Lost your email address and don't seem to get your email updates anymore. ANyway, bought two of your books the day and read them both within 5 days, am on a sales trip in kuwait and dubai. I read book three then book two, I dont own book one yet, didnt realise I got them out of order till i found your website again. Thanks for the good read and the good laugh.

Simon Haynes said...

Thanks Chad. I deliberately made the books self-contained, and although the first one introduces the characters it can easily be read later as a prequel. And sometimes I might mention an event from an earlier book in passing, but only as an in-joke.
No Hal book will ever be a straight sequel, I'm sure of that. I don't like novels which end on a cliffhanger unless I can buy the whole series in one hit - too worried about missing the later ones!

redchurch said...

Simon, I was wondering if you've seen Text Block Writer?

Any chance yWriter could get something like that? I wish breaking out plots/scenes in a rough beat-sheet kind of way was a little easier.

Any thoughts?

Simon Haynes said...

I use freemind for plotting, and when that's done I write the plot out as a series of paragraphs. The latest version of yWriter allows you to import a file full of paragraphs, turning each one into a scene desc, 3 scenes per chapter, with the first sentence of each paragraph as the scene title.

redchurch said...

Simon, thanks. I didn't know yWriter did that. Now that I think about it... Text Block Writer can export its 'scene cards' as a text file, with each scene being a paragraph. Could easily take the output of Text Block Writer and plug it into yWriter.


Simon Haynes said...

That's handy.

In yWriter3 just use Project - Import scenes from a single file. I found it very useful.