I reported in December 2015 that I’d turned in SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE ADVENTURE OF THE DEADLY DIMENSIONS to editor Steve Saffel at Titan Books. In manuscript form, the novel is 526 pages long and approximately 105,000 words.
For the past month, I’ve been working on a detailed outline for the second novel in the series, SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE ADVENTURE OF THE NEURAL PSYCHOSES.
Commonly known as a BEAT SHEET, here’s the process:
Put each “event” (for convenience, I call them “scenes” though they sometimes span more than 1 actual scene) on an individual note card.
When done, put all note cards on my dining table. Arrange them until a fairly concrete and detailed outline emerges. This enables me to juggle the various points of view, scenes, and plot/mystery elements in a visual manner.
Directly from the cards, type what I call a “detailed running outline.” As I create this version in Word, I modify various elements, as needed. This phase takes awhile, as I want to hammer out as solid a foundation as I can before I actually start writing the novel.
Map word count onto my calendar. I put myself on a rigorous writing schedule, making sure I map at least 2000 words/day onto my calendar.
Stick to the calendar schedule. Try to get ahead of schedule! If I can pump out 3,000 or 5,000 words, it’s been an excellent writing day. But I’m happy with progress that keeps me on target to hit my deadlines.
I wrote SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE ADVENTURE OF THE DEADLY DIMENSIONS using this technique, and it worked very well. So I’m doing the same thing for SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE ADVENTURE OF THE NEURAL PSYCHOSES.