Pushing Forty

NaNo GraphFor the final weekend of NaNoWriMo I’m pleased to have hit the 40,000 word mark – a milestone worthy of comment, I think. That leaves only 10,000 words to hit the NaNo goal, but I think, from progress so far, that it will take up to 60,000 words to finish the story. Since it took 66,000 words to get as far as episode 26, this does fit with my original expectation that Some Other Scotland would last for around 50 episodes in total.

It is full steam ahead from now on, as I spent some more time working out plans and timelines using the still-in-development tool ‘Scapple’, the latest software from the developer of ‘Scrivener’, which is the writing software I use to put together SOS. Here’s what I put together using Scapple to help me work out the order of events, the items that still need to be dealt with and the trail of evidence to be followed by Sykes and Co. (yes, it is too small to make out any details, so no spoilers!).
Scapple planning

I have found Scapple to be great for throwing together a whole load of ideas and showing the links between them. Standard mind-mapping software can tend to limit layouts to a hierarchical structure, but Scapple lets links flow in many different directions, which is ideal for my way of working. It outputs in a variety of formats, so I have a copy in pdf format that can sit within my ‘Research’ folder in Scrivener, letting me check back on the plan without having to open another program.

When I first started putting together a timeline for the story, I used a trial copy of Aeon Timeline which seems to be ideal. In fact it was very easy to use, had all the features I wanted and even has a straightforward way of synchronising with Scrivener that made the whole process work smoothly. Unfortunately, the way the software works meant that my long timeline (4,000 years approximately) was too much for it to cope with. It let me enter the events in the timeline and was able to display them, but when I wanted to zoom into any time period less than a month it could not display any further detail. As a result it was no use for plotting out events that happened within the course of a single day, of which there are many in certain sections of the story.
According to the support website, this is a known issue and the way around it would be to have separate timelines for each set of events (e.g. one for neolithic times, one for 18th century, one for early 20th century and one for the ‘current’ time), which is really not practical and would make the otherwise perfect software a pain to use. I ended up switching the timeline to a LibreOffice spreadsheet for comparison purposes and using Scapple to identify the actual flow of events (i.e. event X must happen before events Y and Z).

Now that I know how the story will end, it is just a matter of keeping on with the writing and then beginning the editing process. Look out for another new episode in the next week or so, depending on how well I progress with the writing over the next few days.

Almost there!

NaNo progress