After a break for a holiday to Malta and settling back into work I’m back at it after getting a lot of writing done whilst I was away. Almost the complete Act One of the first book of the new series I’m working on, as I said in my last post. It’s a total of 17,000 words spread over 6 chapters and that was mostly done over 4 days of the 7 day holiday as we did a few day trips around the beautiful Maltese islands.

If you ever get the opportunity you should go there, I’d recommend staying in the North like we did as it’s quieter but you are a short distance from the ferries to Gozo and can get buses/excursions to Valletta and other places.

One of the reasons I think I was able to get so much writing done is because of how I’ve changed my approach to outlining and sketching. I’m a firm believer in plotting v pantsing – it’s what works for me – but I realise that for Oranje I didn’t do enough for my characters or locations.

What I did before was a brief description of each character. Appearance, personality, key character traits and so on. But this time I’ve added in tag words. I came up with a list of 3 or 4 words that summed up each character and that could also be used to describe them in the book. I’ve also extended this approach to a lot of the key non-main cast characters so that each of those are well fleshed out when they appear in the book.

The sames been done for each location for the book. A brief description and then tag words that sum up and help visualise them.

I know I need to do more with the characters, and I now plan on doing an editing pass on this act. The aim being that as each one is done I polish and improve before moving on so each one is solid.

But I’m in a much better place to begin with this time, the characters are there and they feel more interesting. There’s more to shape their personalities from, and I can’t wait to finish the whole thing.