Blog posts may be intermittent this week as we're hard at work revising Cleaver Square.
Today's task is to create a massive spreadsheet that charts all scenes. Left to right are the chapters (which are all named). Top to bottom we're listing - main plot points, lead ins for future plot points, details that need to be kept consistent, characters who appear (to ensure balance), character development points, word count, tension level (on a out of ten basis), locations, pre-requisite and subsequent scenes (which constrains where scenes can be moved) etc.
That all gets cross referenced against an encylopedia style document that lists all the characters, their characteristics (inc items not described in this book), where each slots into the story (and why we need them). Every scene, inc forensic details etc, gets re-checked for accuracy (not moving roads, forensic timelines, techniques, police procedure, ranks/ forms of address). This has been checked by Sean and I, and is currently being checked by a couple of alpha readers & our first pass editor.
When we've got a scene that has something criminal going on (murder, body dump etc) we go to the location for real, and see what CCTV coverage is like, how high footfall is (you'd be surpised how many cut through some roads in central London at 3 in the morning), whether the area is high risk for being seen by homeless persons etc. We look at points of entry and egress - would someone choose this place to commit a crime? Are there bins around (advertising companies use mobiles to track people going past the adverts on the outside of London bins)? Who owns the CCTV - is it private, or council? What is the average rainfall like on scene? Is it windy? Loud? Are there vermin/ foxes around that would affect the story? Do the characters we have created fit in with the demographic of the area?
All these little points feed into the story, and I hope they help to bring the story to life. The devil is often in the detail. But it's slow going stuff :)
As a 'where we're at' update, we're waiting on art (we're 3 design revisions in so far), and we've not started proofreading yet. We're still aiming to have ARCs ready by the end of August (so two and a half weeks to get to an 'almost ready' state) with final launch in September (exact date TBC).
There's still time to request an ARC - see the 'Request an Arc' link at the top of this blog.