This week I’ve started writing my next novella, Devon’s Blade. This story is set between Starforgers and The Rising and deals with Devon Ardel’s efforts to turn around the fortunes of a fighter squadron on a remote planetary base. This is straight up military Sci-Fi with a tight, war-time plot and lots of combat action. If you like war movies about fighter pilots, this is your story to read.
I’m changing my writing process for this novella. Instead of using Plume Creator for my first draft, I’ll be using Google Docs. What this means is that I can now write anywhere I have internet connection and I’m not limited to using my writing laptop. This is generally an experiment for me, not a new direction. I still love using Plume and my Ubuntu computer but just wanted to try something different and use Chrombooks as much as possible. I figured this would be the right time to try this on a novella instead of a full blown novel. I expect this story to be between 40 and 50 thousand words.
I don’t have any special scripts to manipulate my documents, I’m just using whatever GDocs provides me. I have set up a folder structure on my GDrive (cloud drive provided by Google) and will use only Google tools to track word count and outline.
Above you can see Chapter 1 is being written here along with the Research tab open for Navy rank identification.
This is the start of the outline using a spreadsheet to track word and page counts. I’ve already added the story beats per Act as suggested by Larry Brooks in his seminal book, Story Engineering. Buy it, read it, learn it, live it. I’m outlining this novella about a chapter ahead of where I’m at because I know my story structure is already in place with the outline template.
This is my top level file structure for the novella on my GDrive.
This is my two page synopsis from which I based my outline.
I’m toying with the idea of letting the folks look at what I write as I write it. I can assign read only privileges to folks interested in watching my progress. This will only apply to the chapters folder and there is no guarantee that what I write will be readable. My first drafts tend to be horrible, just ask my editor. But for those willing to read along as I create, I’m more than willing to let you shoulder surf. If that sort of thing interests you, please send me an email requesting to do so. firstname.lastname@example.org
One thought on “My Next Novella”
Trust me, Ken’s first drafts can be pretty bad, from a reading standpoint. However, from a process standpoint, it’s interesting to compare his first draft with subsequent drafts and the final edition. You can see how the main storyline remains intact while the supporting lines evolve over the drafting process and how they nudge the main storyline to be tighter, more focused.
If you are interested in observing a good writer’s process, taking Ken up on this could be worth your time.