"There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." - W. Somerset Maugham
After assuring myself that every chapter has a reason to be there (and if it didn't, deciding whether to scrap it or combine it with another), my next step is to check the pacing of my novel.
There are a lot of theories on pacing and more books and websites on the topic than you can ever read.
Some people swear by Save the Cat by Snyder. Others love Screenwriting Tricks for Authors by Sokoloff. Or you could go with a simple beat sheet calculator.
Me? I'm a HUGE fan of Martha Alderson. Her book, The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master, was one of the game changers in my writing life. I first began watching her videos on You Tube, which you should totally check out later. I bought her book on Kindle when it came out and I've referred to it a zillion times. While I love paper books as much as the next person, my Kindle app is far better because I would have destroyed a paper copy by now.
Because I have so much respect for Ms. Alderson and her methods, I'm not going to go into great detail. You should read her book or watch her videos. But, I will show you what I've done with my note cards for this pacing step...and you can find similar graphs on the web (but nothing quite as spectacular as hers) here.
By laying out my note cards in this way, I can easily segment Acts One through Three. I know where my midpoint and crisis fall. I can tell if I have too much in the middle or too much at the end. Basically, this one task tells me everything I need to know about the pacing of my book.
Next step? I'm diving into my first major line edit. Wish me luck!!!!
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