Friday, 23 April 2010


We all have our methods - and they may vary from book to book. I like a novel to be 21 chapters, for instance, though several of my 21 chapter novels have ended up with 24 or 25!

My writer friend Nicky Nrowne (N M Browne) draws a circle and divides it into ever smaller segments and works out where the climaxes need to come. I always make a timeline of events so that I don't have characters going to school on a Saturday or something and, in the case of the Stravaganza series I have to have a card index of characters because it's all got so complicated.

This time, now I'm writing a historical novel based on Michelangelo sculpting the statue of David, I thought I'd try plotting the chapters out on index cards too and see if I could match them - all 21 of them - to Nicky's exciting happenings circle.

I was doing this last weekend but felt there was something missing. Then Lonza, the chocolate Burmes car turned up and I realised what it was!

You see, I needed a familiar. Clearly chapter eight/nine is where it's all going to hot up, according to Lonza's tail. I'll let you know when I get there.


  1. That's what I'm missing! Durr.....

  2. Thanks for reminding me of this way of working. Good excuse to go and by index cards - stationery!