East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

My second novel – outline and structure


And so, while I keep piling up notes and resources for my new roleplaying game project (the thing is getting huge), I also started working on my new novel1.


The outline’s done – I’m letting it cool off, and tonight I’ll send it to the publisher, and barring strong objections and possible redesigns, I’ll slot the outline in Scrivener, and I’ll start jotting down the first draft.
In the meantime, I’m also mind-mapping the setting and the characters2.

Now, my outline’s sort of fan-shaped – I’ve got a solid starting point and a general direction in which the story will go, and also a set of plot-points through which the story will have to pass. Only, the way-points become more generic and far-between as we proceed to the end of the story.
If the start is A, therefore B and because of C, then D, by the time we are in the whereabouts of O, then probably P, maybe Q, and then most certainly T even if we’ll have to find a suitable S, or maybe R, or both really…


This is fine with me – the story right now is playing through my brain like a movie, some scenes fully developed, some crisp clear but without soundtrack, others just snippets of dialogue playing over a black screen.
But the story is there.
And I have a structure – even if there’s places in the second half of my story where I don’t know exactly what will happen, I do know exactly what sort of something will have to happen to preserve the structural integrity of the story.
Now all I have to do is write it.

Just like with The Ministry of Thunder, a lot of the background research is already in place before starting – and I’ll fill in the blanks during the revision.
I’ve got a world, I’ve got a cast of characters (a few faces missing, a few names that do not sound just right, but I’ll get there), I’ve got a self-imposed deadline and a lot of ideas.
It will be fun.

  1. And no, this is not the sequel of The Ministry of Thunder. 
  2. It will be interesting to see what happens when I try and import Freemind or Freeplane mind-maps into Scrivener – I might write a post about it. 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “My second novel – outline and structure

  1. Thought-provoking post. I love to look into the gears of other authors’ minds. Especially now that I am reading books about story structure and outlining.


    • Glad to be of help.
      In the end, I think each one of us has to find his own approach to writing… but we can steal from others anyway as we put together our own toolbox 😉


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