Dear Writer-Friends,

I've been self-publishing since 2011, and I've shared the knowledge I've gained in two books: the Indie Author Survival Guide, Second Edition, and For Love or Money. I'm not an indie rockstar or a breakout success: I'm one of thousands of solidly midlist indie authors making a living with their works. These books are my way of helping my fellow authors discover the freedom of indie publishing. Write on, writer-friends!

S.K. Quinn, Independent Author of Science Fiction

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Emotional Structure in Your Novel

I've posted over at Scribbler's Cove on Emotional Structure in Your Novel.
Hence, the title.
In other news, I finished writing Closed Hearts.

On Saturday, I sent Closed Hearts off to the copyeditor: the beginning of the end of the novel belonging to the writer, and the start of the story belonging to readers. If the comments on FB and Twitter are any indication, readers are excited to read it, for which I'm incredibly grateful. It's profoundly rewarding to have people who want to read your work, so thank you to everyone who's cheered me on in the process of creating Book Two of the Mindjack Trilogy!

A Few Closed Hearts Stats
Words in the novel:
Closed Hearts: 84,109
Open Minds: 84,489
(freaky, right?)

Words in Scrivener (research, notes, hyperlinks, etc):
Book The Third: 12,789
Closed Hearts: 81,456
Open Minds: 103,115
(Yes, I already have 12,789 words of notes on Book The Third, mostly outline, invented technology, and some research. It shocked me to discover I had created more words in notes than in the novel for Open Minds!)

Creation Time (concept to final draft):
Closed Hearts: 6 months
Open Minds: 24 months
(Note: in the 24 months of creating Open Minds, I also wrote/revised/drafted/worked-on-in-some-way three other novels and one short story)

Pantsing vs. Plotting?
Closed Hearts: Hyper-plotting
Open Minds: Pantsing up until the last three drafts

Number of Drafts (substantial revisions/rewrites):
Closed Hearts: 4
Open Minds: 6

Writing the second book in a trilogy brings its own challenges: carrying the story forward within the larger three-book story arc while still having a beginning, middle, and end to the second book; bringing forward some characters, but creating new ones as well; recapping enough of the first book to remind readers what happened without bogging down in backstory. But all of that pales compared to the adrenaline-driven excitement of writing this book, knowing there were readers out there wanting to read it. There is a saying that the writing process is not complete until someone reads the work - for me, this is especially true.
My new plotting toys.

This same excitement is already carrying over to Book The Third, which I'm well into plotting and hope to start drafting next week. I have a writing retreat planned with fellow Indelibles writer Magan Vernon, author of How to Date An Alien, in early May, in which we will both be working on the third books in our trilogies (as well as paying homage to The Cheesecake Factory and investigating as to whether aliens are the true owners of IKEA).

I will have (many) more details to come about Closed Hearts but here's the most important one:

Closed Hearts: Release Date, May 23rd, 2012


  1. Cool stats! I've been attempting to use Scrivner and getting frustrated. I kind of like Liquid Story Binder better, but think Scrivener is probably better for writing. I really need to take a class.

    1. I'm a huge Scrivener fan, but I don't use it for writing at all (just Word for that). I used Liquid Story Binder for a while, but for some reason I never could quite navigate it. Scrivener feels more intuitive to me, but whatever works for you! (They also have tutorials you might give a try with Scrivener).

  2. Awesome! Do you have a pub date set yet, or is it too early to tell?

    1. Release date is the same as the pub date. I guess I should call it that, huh? :) 5/23/2012

  3. Interesting stats. I'm typically a hyper-plotter, but with my new wip, I'm not trying to plot too far ahead. I still have very little idea of where this is all going and how it will end up, which makes me nervous, but I am getting a lot more typing done instead of plotting in my notebook.

    We'll see how it goes!

    1. There's definitely the danger of spending all your time plotting, not writing! For me, I usually have to hold myself back from writing, because I'm chomping at the bit to get started! But the plotting helps make sure I'm on the right path, so overall (for me) I think it saves me time in getting to the end of the book. Good luck with your story!!

  4. Yay, yay, yay! I am VERY excited to read Closed Minds! And thanks for the other info--super interesting! :)

  5. If Scandinavians are actually aliens, this would explain the delightful Movenpick icecream: superior technology.

  6. Very exciting! I really enjoyed the first book and I am excited to read the next one when it is ready. That's really awesome that you have things so planned out! :)

  7. Can't wait for Closed Minds! Congratulations on sending it for editing...

  8. Are those Post it notes? If so, then we must have some liked Post it note spirits lingering out in the spiritual fog of the Nether Writer Realm :-)

    1. Also, when Closed Hearts is ready, I'm SOOOO ready to grab my copy and get to reading. WOOT!!!

    2. They're actually 3x5 cards cut in half. Um, yeah. Post-Its would have been smarter!

  9. I can't believe Closed Hearts is coming out next month! :D

  10. NATHAN BRANSFORD AUTHOR before they delete.

  11. Sweet!!!! GREAT work! Can't wait for Closed Hearts! :)

  12. YAY cant waite for the book, the first was great

  13. Love the side by side comparison. Interesting. I'm morphing into an uber planner. It does leave less mess to clean up on the flip side and leaves you open to layer in details when the bones of the story are solid.


Erudite comments from thoughtful readers