Tuesday 12th May 2020

My head is predominantly in book 2 at the moment.  There’s a lot to consider and I’m really wanting to make some serious progress on it over the coming weeks.  But in the back of my head there’s a little bit of thinking going on surrounding book 3.

Some of this is to be expected.  I’m already finding that I want to go back and tweak book 1 to aid book 2.  Nothing major, but I’m very aware that as each book gets locked down so the constraints on the world increase.  As a result, I’m subconsciously wanting to set up book 3, hence why it’s rattling around at the back of my brain.

As regular readers will know, I’m currently fascinated by story structure, and specifically screenplay structure.  I think there are ‘rules’ for writing,  but they’re very high level and for the right story can be broken.  I don’t believe there are any real formulas.

Screenwriting is a much tighter discipline.  It’s constrained more by the market than the format, and is probably why there are a lot of cookie-cutter ‘safe’ movies.  But I don’t pretend to really understand it enough to be any sort of authority of it.  However, I’m fascinated by these screenwriting rules.  Again, I think a skilled screenwriter can break them and write a fantastic movie.

Whilst I’d like to write a script later this year to learn the craft (rather than to sell a movie or become a screenwriter), my focus for delving into a lot of this material is really to see what I can pull out and use for writing novels.

I’ve seen a little on 4 act structures, and they currently intrigue me.  I very much write 3-act novels.  I know this because my writing always gets bogged down around the transition from one act to another.  And for no other reason other than I’m intrigued by the idea of doing something different for book 3, I’ve kinda decided that book 3 is probably going to be a 4-act novel.

Of course, if the story dictates that it has to be otherwise, I’m not going to be precious about it.  But as someone who wants to continue to grow as a writer, I want each book to stretch me.

I have some very rough ideas for book 3, but they are very rough and I’m not actively trying to think about it right now.  But inevitably, as a work on book 2, there will be ideas that I’ll think more suitable for a later book.

I suspect how this will likely manifest itself is that I’ll be reading and watching more on 4-act structures in the coming weeks and months.  That’ll either lead down another tangent to something better suited to be a challenge for book 3, or the ideas will naturally start feeding into it.

I’ve always wanted to be a conveyor belt for stories so that as I’m editing one, I’m writing another, planning a third.  It’s good to see that start to happen again.

But for now, my focus is book 2

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