Saturday, 29 June 2013

Chapters - to title, or not to title.

In our WIP (which has the working title Frozen Out - not the final publication title which we'll confirm in August) we're breaking up the book into more chapters.

Dead on Demand was broken down into fairly lengthy chapters, but we're going a lot shorter this time. With a little luck, this should translate into a 'one more chapter, it's only 5 pages!' mentality that will make Frozen Out have that page turner feel.

We're also intending to name all the chapters this time as 'Chapter 17' isn't as interesting as 'Chapter 17: Homogenous Milk'. Bet you've never seen that one before :)

This should be fairly easy to do - we already break down scenes by codename, then rate them for tension/ POV/ etc to keep the balance up. We're also big fans of taking a project management approach to scenes. For example we might label a scene as "Chapter 17: Homogenous Milk" but then add a note that says "Pre-Requisite Scenes: 1979 & Credit Low". That way, if we shuffle our scenes about we know how it will affect continuity. We'll then label it further as a 'Feeder scene' for a later chapter so our notecard might read:

Scene: 17: Homogenous Milk
Pre-Requisites: 1979; Credit Low
Characters: Morton, Tina Vaughn, DI Mayberry
Feeder for: Prying Eyes, Rock Bottom
Tension Level: 4/10
Character Developement: DCI Morton

This helps us maintain the character arcs, keep the facts straight, give some light and shade to the tension and ensure a good mix of characters in sucessive scenes. It's also a great way to procrastine but convince yourself you're working hard... much like this blog!

Have a great weekend all!

Dan & Sean


  1. Good idea! If it's any consolation, you've saved me some time with the "Pre-requisite" & "Feeder for" chapter tags.

  2. It's a really handy way of keeping track. We keep a spreadsheet that lists:
    - Current Scene Position
    - Scene Name
    - Characters Involved
    - Tension level
    - Plot points
    - Details that need to be kept consistent (dates, places)
    - Character Arcs
    - Pre-requisite scenes
    - Feeder scenes
    - Scene type (Action, Dialogue, Exposition etc)
    - Length (to check for any that are too long/ too short)

    It's almost a grid method of outlining. Really handy for doing coauthored works where you both need to be on the same page.