Friday, August 7, 2009

The Complete Novel Plotting Workbook by Weston Elliot

After a very cool day at LDSBA, (which you will hear in more detail about, along with pictures, I promise) I spent my free time yesterday and today looking at critiques for my third book. (All right, so that's a bit of a misnomer, I actually wrote scads of books before the one I'm refering to as #3, some of which are even finished but will never see the light of day in their current format. Others aren't even worth fixing.) I have a couple more critiques that still have to come in, and then I can get serious about rewrites.

And since there aren't too many chapters on book #4 to take to my weekly group, I'll soon be deciding on a new project. Which brings to me to the very cool new workbook created by Weston Elliot. It's called The Complete Novel Plotting Workbook. I've seen programs and notebooks before that are supposed to help you plot out your novel, but I've never come across anything that really covers everything an author needs to keep at their fingertips like this does.
The workbook is intended for helping sci-fi and fantasy writers with a whole section at the beginning of the book devoted to the world, settings, animals, sociology, religion, and much more about the location where your book takes place. Still, I think that would be just as important for someone writing a historical book or one that takes place in an area with which the writer is unfamiliar.

For example, if I set something in another country, like California, I might need to write down the kinds of animals indigenous to the area, strange customs, and more . (Yes, I'm aware California really is part of the U.S. It only seems like a whole other country.)

The book also has a section for m apping where you are encouraged to draw out what your buildings, town or country look like.

Next is a section with pages of basic information for your main characters, secondary characters, and incidentals. Then there are pages where you can sketch out all of the conflicts. Because the book is bound with rings instead of a regular binding, you can easily remove or change the order of pages as needed.

This book also has a section where you an outline each of your chapters, make a timeline and take notes about other things you need to know (like how many train transfers it takes to get from Heathrow to Hull, and the details of when and where you switch trains. Then again, I may be the only one who cares about that.)
I admit, I am forever writing notes on little scraps of paper, which then promptly get lost and I can never find them when I need them. If I used a book like this, I could keep all of those details together in a logical order. And at less than $10 each, and available in various colors, I could keep one for each of my projects--color coded.
To order, or get more information about them, click here.

1 comment:

Weston Elliott said...

Thanks for the great review - and don't worry, you're not the only one who thinks California is it's own "special" country!