Sunday, January 18, 2015

Spanner R5 #amediting Update: In Which I Give Up on the Olden Ways and Start a Plot Spreadsheet

I have just discovered, long after I should have, just how extremely difficult it is to plot a novel as complicated as Spanner Book 1 without a spreadsheet. Until now I've had this stubborn notion, dating way, way back to the Apple II days of VisiCalc, that spreadsheets are for business calculating stuff no different from the paper ledgers that inspired the original spreadsheets. So for the last 3 years or so I was trying to wrestle this unwieldy plot into shape without a spreadsheet until I finally gave up.

This is the kind of thing that makes me feel old.

Anyway, I have started a spreadsheet for Spanner Book 1. Already my mind has started making the connections that evaded me when I was still trying to do everything in the HTML files. My writing may have improved by leaps and bounds because of all that editing, but plotting has been a lot more difficult. The spreadsheet is already making a difference.

And so I'm going to take a break from the rewriting for a while, though here and there I'll still slip in a few new scenes (one set at the end of "act 2" even contains a huge cliffhanger), until I've entered all the chapters and scenes into the new spreadsheet.

Some things just have to be done. It's a wonder I avoided doing it for so long.

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