Re: Planning chapters and arcs

#2
A "scene" system is my favorite!

Chapter breakdowns get shifted around too much in the process; sometimes, when you add, delete, or move things. But by breaking things down by scene instead, it can be a lot smoother when rearranging, and help reveal where your arcs and patterns are. It's easier to spot when you've had "too much downtime" or "We've had sad things for a few scenes in a row now". It can help highlight where to break it up! It can also help with pacing, so it's easier to spot when things are moving too quick, or too slow, and in comparison to the overall scheme of things. It's also a lot easier to move individual scenes than try to break up predetermined "chapters".

Example: 

-Doctor check up
-“How’s the strain?” “The flow seems a little smoother. I can pull and little more than I used to be able to. But the headaches can get kind of fierce. Sometimes it can get a little loud…” “Keep conditioning. You’ll get used to the stress. “And if my abilities just keep getting stronger instead? Then what?” “This is unprecedented. I can’t tell you for sure what will happen. Perhaps you’ll get more sensitive. But there’s only one way to find out. Call it ego if you want, but I’d rather it be you and I that finds out, than someone out there with less pure intentions. With everything going on, it might soon be a race to see who finds out first.”
-Tenya eventually comes for her. “Astrid. Romo needs you.”
-Interrogation
-Romo asks for help. "Here, let me try..."

The advantage to this is that in the "stream of consciousness" part where I'm brainstorming the scenes first hand, I'm tracking the tiniest details that first evoked the scene for me so I can synch back in when it's time to write. Convo quotes. Small visuals. Important key points to be made for the plot. Sometimes, when I get a lot down for detailed/major scene, I can then copy+paste the outline paragraph and build my scene right around it, and it's like half the work is already done.

The added benefit, of course, is also that you can start with just your main, most-clear scenes when you build your outline. Big moments. Beginning. End. And visually SEE where you need more, where your gaps and holes may be, and you'll discover all those little places where something else might be happening that you wouldn't have seen before. I find after a full outline is done, I OFTEN find just enough holes to go, "it feels like there's something else at play here", and I discover a new sub-arc that fills all those places, and fits neatly into my pacing as if it was always meant to be there. That's soooo satisfying! And it's super easy to go back and add little red herrings or foreshadowing with things broken down this way.

I find, at least for me, this is most conducive to maximizing the efficiency/flow of my imagination to my greatest benefit, and keeping the mood/feel of my original vision consistent throughout the process.

I hope it helps!

Also, bonus points if you assign a soundtrack that fits the mood, and ONLY play it when you brainstorm and work on your story. Once your brain associates that music to your story, you can use that playlist to get back into it and keep the vision/style/feeling consistent between writing sessions. The trick is to honor that playlist and associate it only with that story, so it doesn't lose its power to pull you back into a specific "time" and "place". A little psych trick. ;D