Writing Framed To Death, Book 4 in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery Series
By Christina Freeburn
My writing method changes with every book. First, I was a ‘seats of the pants’ writer, which means I started a book by typing Chapter One and let the story flow at will. This plan worked great when writing the first book in a series as nothing is established and I’m learning more about the characters and their world while writing.
This method (or rather lack of one) wasn’t so great when creating subsequent books in a series. There are elements already established that have to be incorporated into the new story, and also relationships and interactions between the characters that need addressed and to remain consistent in the next book. The seat of the pants style of creating worked out okay with book 2, but by book 3 I discovered (the hard way) that I needed a more focused approach to my storytelling.
And this is where Scrivener came in. When I started writing Framed to Death, Book 4 in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series, I knew I needed a more planned approached and heard so much good things about Scrivener I gave it a try. I’m so happy I did. I am so in love with this program.
With this method of creating, I found a wonderful balance of outlining and seat of pants writing style that works well for me. I was able to add in more elements to the story, and keep everything in check, without one character running down a twisty rabbit trail that led nowhere, or finding a way to take over the story. With Embellished to Death (Book 3), I had a couple of plot elements I needed to merge and writing in my original method made it very hard to keep everything in line and resulted in tons of editing and two major rewrites.
When outlining in Scrivener, I used the index cards to track the plot and subplots elements addressed in the chapters, and also the characters involved. I created a flow chart using the completed index cards. The title was the center box and from there split off into the main plot and subplot. On the left was the subplot: relationship dilemmas. And on the right, the main plot was broken down into two branches: synthetic marijuana and murder victim as the book deals with both of these crimes.
After I placed all the scene breakdowns from the index cards to the flow chart, I could see if a thread dangled unattached to the plot, or if a part of the main plot or a subplot disappeared. One subplot point didn’t factor heavily into the main story arc, so I eliminated it and resaved the document just in case I was a little hasty. I read the story and found the remaining subplots now merged better and the pace of the story picked up.
Now that I’m starting book 5 in the series, I’m using this same method. By having a road map for Framed, I found I was able to concentrate on the intricacies of the plot rather than the structure and made the story stronger and writing it more fun.
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