Plotting and sub-plots
With each novel I write, I improve on the mistakes I made in the last one. The last novel was a psychological thriller and had a cast of seven characters. As I adore reading the genre of crime and thrillers, I thought I’d write a crime thriller this time.
By the nature of the theme, I have already a cast of characters that are beyond the number of my last book, hence this time I am plotting and sub-plotting a lot more carefully.
I have used the mind map format – one for the main plot and one for the sub-plots. They inevitably intertwine, so the spidery maps twist and turn, finally linking together to form the foundation of the novel.
In my experience, I follow the plot lines, but as I write, the characters do come up with their own ideas which I allow to flourish. They sometimes surprise me and so I believe they will surprise the reader too.
If I had an office, I’d have the chart pinned to a board, but as I don’t – I use a marble washstand in the lounge or a Victorian pine table in the conservatory – I have two sheets of A4 stuck together that I open up like a map. The map helps me tread my way towards another novel.
I also have a box of cue cards, each depicting traits of the character’s, so I don’t forget things such as eye colour and what phrases they tend to use. As I intend this novel to be the first in a series, it’s important that I remain consistent with the characters.
Do you have other mapping methods – I’d be interested to hear about them and perhaps improve my own method.
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