James Floyd Kelly

Writer and Swashbuckler-for-Hire


I told myself that I was going to finish my first fiction book idea before starting the next… I should have known I was lying to myself because I cannot get the new story I’ve developed out of my head… I spent the last few days writing up a 9 page summary of most (not all) of the major action scenes, the characters, and the major plotline.  I knew if I didn’t write some of this down, I’d lose it… so for the past few days, every time a great idea jumped into my head, I ran off and added it to my summary document… finally, I had the beginning, middle and end to the story.  I cannot say that about my first fiction book, so…

I’ve made an executive decision that I’m going to shelve that book for a bit, let it stew a while, and start working on this new idea that is, honestly, much more fine-tuned and developed.

For anyone who is interested, I’m running my plays based on a great book by James V. Smith, Jr. titled You Can Write a Novel – I’ve read quite a few books about novel writing over the years and this one I’ve always come back to as THE book I would use when I finally decided to try my hand at fiction writing.  It is VERY different than writing non-fiction/computer books, and the methodology suits me – I like to know where I’m going and this book has a more methodical approach to writing – I know a lot of writers prefer to write as their subconscious leads them, but I’m not one of them… as with non-fiction, I want to know where the story will start and where it will end.  The book provides the format for worksheets and notecards to help a writer get organized… and if you look carefully at the photo, you’ll see that I’ve created 9 Scene Cards (corresponding to 9 chapters of the book)… I was able to get these 9 cards created in a single afternoon after reviewing my summary document and following some instructions in the book.

I’m not following every bit of advice offered by Smith… some of the stuff I just feel isn’t as necessary as others (such as Character Sheets for each major character) – my summary document has enough background material for me to understand my characters and know where they’re going, etc…

So, roughly 21 Scene Cards left to create… that’s assuming a 30 chapter book and that obviously can change depending on how the story plays out.  Again, I know the start, middle, and end, but now I’ve got to organize the chapters and put the various action sequences into play by linking them together… I’ve already seen the value of the cards because at one point I readjusted a scene to come a bit later… all that required was scratching out the chapter # and writing in a new one.

Now, once I have the 30 or so Scene Cards created, I’ll have a solid outline for the structure of the story and THEN I can start writing, knowing where the story is going versus “winging it” as I’ve been doing with fiction story 1.  So… Fiction Story 1 – shelved (for now).  Fiction Story 2 – in development – I’m hoping to have all Scene Cards written and outlined by late next week or the following… then I’ll revisit how my daily quota – will it be a set # of pages?  A chapter per day?  Half a chapter per day?  Not sure, but I’m feeling much better now that I know the structure.

If anyone wants the Scene Card file template, let me know – it’s not pretty at all – I typed it up from a small picture in the Smith book and it’s grainy and ugly, but it works.  Of course, the Scene Card file won’t do you any good without the book because so much of the Card’s content requires your understanding the process described.


March 19, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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