Monthly Archives: July 2014

Useful Tools for Plotting your Novel

I’m sure everyone has their own methods of keeping notes, maintaining outlines etc when constructing their novel.  Here I share mine.

(Note these aren’t word processors,  just tools to aid in structuring your novel)

One piece of freeware I use is Storybook.  It’s an all round story planning tool for Windows that let’s you construct strands, scenes, chapters, characters, locations etc all in a nice user interface.  It’s free, but ensure you do the “custom”  install when you do it so you don’t get any annoying installs along with it.

The second one is on I used on my iPhone for mobile work.  I will add that for mobile work nowadays  I’m more working on Google docs so I can sync across devices, then add back to Storybook later on, but for a time this was my “go to” app.

Anyway this second app has similar options as Storybook, with plotting, scene, character templates etc. It’s not as feature rich as Storybook but I have found us useful for initial story modelling exercises.

So, what do you folks use, if anything? I’ve found that just plain notes doesn’t work for my disorganised brain,  and I need some assistance in putting a structure together.

 

The rudderless hero

So, I’m working through the second draft of my current WIP, an urban fantasy that I can only describe as the Matrix meets ancient Celtic mythology (with a bit of quantum physics thrown in), and I’ve got a problem with my protagonist.

Basically, as this world is new to him, he’s spent a lot of his time being purely reactive, either being told this and that or just responding to various scenarios. Conversely, the antagonist, who IS well aware of how this mythical world works, drives her story forwards with gusto.

My fear now is that, until my hero starts to do things himself and acts on his motives, he just comes across as well, dull.

How do others do this? How do you make a protagonist who still has so much to learn be more proactive in the early stages of the story? It’s basically the old Hero’s Journey I know, so a bit of back reading on similar works/journeys is required methinks…

Formatting your eBook for publication

As well as getting your actual manuscript in good nick for publication and also finding/designing that perfect cover, one thing I hadn’t considered was how that nicely formatted word document  needed to be modified to ensure it was fit for submission to Amazon (kindle) and other formats, via Smashwords.

Thankfully, both sites have their own eBooks that serve has handy guides to getting your manuscript in a fit state for submission on an “E” format.

For kindle, go for this book.

For Smashwords (so basically all other formats), use this.

Hope this is of use to someone. For me, I found out that I now have to remove all my tab indented paragraphs and replace them with first line indents. Doh-ville!

My new short story – Mirror Man – available at Smashwords

I’ve been having a break from the main WIP to back fill some world-building that I needed to complete to ensure I didn’t write myself into a brick wall.

In the interim, I’ve also wrote and uploaded my first short story (The Mirror Man) to Smashwords, available here.

I’ve got some other subs doing the rounds but if (when) they get their rejections I’ll probably post them there too.

It’s free, so please feel free to have a gander and leave your thoughts.

Mike