NaNo 11: Chapters

So, who went out and bought a notebook for their NaNo outline? I know there’s at least one… Any more?

Anyway, if you did, and if you’re playing along at home, grab that book and head up a page for every chapter you plan to write.

Don’t know how many chapters will be in the final book? Doesn’t matter. You’ve got options when you are planning:

  • set aside twice the pages you were going to set aside so if you need more chapters, they can be added
  • what’s your target word count? Divide that by the average number of words you tend to write per chapter
  • I set aside 12 chapters for a novella (25k ish) and 24 for a novel (50k ish) with an extra page for an optional epilogue

When you’re planning, and when you’re writing, chapters are really just a convenient way of breaking up your plot. Once the story is finished, I inevitably start shifting stuff around, breaking in different places, more logical places etc. But when I’m planning, and when I’m writing, it might be ‘such and such series of events happens in this chapter’ or ‘I’m gonna write one chapter today’ (remember I am queen of the 2k chapter).

Just because you plan 2k per chapter, or 4k per chapter, or 10k per chapter, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way later on. Same as if you plan 4, or 6, or 20 scenes per chapter. Or one day per chapter, or one week per chapter.

I base mine on word count (2-3k) and events in the time line of the story.

And I’ve totally gone off on a tangent ;)

So, you have your chapter pages. Look at your Beginning, Middle, End page. Figure out roughly how the chapters will spread over these three parts. I usually end up with 4 chapters per section because I write short stuff. Write in your badnesses in the corresponding chapters. Perhaps use pencil at first ;) Fill in some of the other events that surround your badnesses.

At this point I’m lucky if I have one sentence on each of my chapter pages. That’s fine. You might never expand the chapter outline more than that. I often don’t. But I leave the space regardless.

Oh, yes. Lots of extra space is good.

Friday: Character profiles, yay!

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5 responses to “NaNo 11: Chapters

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