Someone had read my post about writing novels being a big job, and asked me (over on my other blog) how I overcame that. I am not sure I have a good answer, except to say that I try to break down a novel into smaller parts.

All my stories, basically, start like this. As eight blocks that give me a skeleton.
All my stories, basically, start like this. As eight blocks that give me a skeleton.

Then I only focus on one part at a time. Given that writing, say, ten thousand words is a lot easier to stomach than to write 80 thousand, it seems logical do go through that. Also, since I’m an outliner by heart and inclination, I fire up my copy of Scrivener and get to work.

This is how it can look. I start with dividing a story into eight blocks, and then try to think of stepping-stones in the story that will describe a full arc of a story. Each block represents a part of that arc.

Each block also has a beginning, a middle, and a climax which is supposed to make the reader turn the page. In a way it is a mini-story in a specific place. The character wants something in that place, and the climax is about whether the character achieves it or not. The climax pushes the character into the next block, and they build on each other like that. It’s my way of managing. I’m not sure it is helpful to anyone else.

When I start writing, I only concern myself with the block I’m currently working on. That way, there are more immediate goalposts, and the sense of achievement is more spread out over the course of the work. Each time I finish a block, it feels like I’m a bit closer to the main goal of a full first draft.

Though, I can’t say that I stick to closely with what I’ve thought out because writing a novel isn’t painting by numbers. If I think of something new and awesome in Block 3 that will change everything, I will change everything, even if it means I once again have to zoom out of that block and outline anew.

So, that is a long-winded answer to the question I was asked. Hope it helps.