Tag Archives: Planning

Read ‘Em And Weep

Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook, follows me on Twitter or, unlikely as it seems, occasionally looks at my Google+ account, will know that for the past two years or so I have been undertaking a reading marathon of Pratchett proportions.

I started with The Colour of Magic and continued with all 41 Discworld novels, as well as the maps, cookbooks, tourist guides, kids books and short story collections. After this I started on the non-Discworld books – Strata, The Dark Side of the Sun, the Bromeliad trilogy, the Johnny Maxwell books, etc.

The reason for this single-minded readathon are numerous, I tend to reread my Pratchett collection every few years anyway, but after his untimely death in 2015 I couldn’t bring myself to pick up a book by any other author.

I assumed this feeling would pass but several months later I was still in the same mood, a year later I felt the same, two years later and I was still in my reading rut.

Seemingly unrelated, about two months ago we got notice that our landlord wanted their house back, which was a bit inconvenient because we were just in the middle of trying to find somewhere of our own to buy. Scroll on to about a week ago and the house is full of boxes as we get ready to move to a new rental. I was packing up my Pratchett collection (shudder) and amongst them I found my Kindle, untouched since I picked up The Colour of Magic.

I wasn’t sure what to do with it so I left it on top of my drawers in our bedroom. Then, last Sunday night I was getting my stuff ready for work the next day and thought “why the hell not” and slipped the e-reader into my bag.

When I arrived at the train station on Monday morning I got it out and started reading (American Gods by Neil Gaiman, if you must know!), and have been doing so on every journey to work and back since. It seems my reading mojo has returned and, with it, my brain has also fallen off a deep precepice into the icy waters of “I Have To Write” again.

Ideas are sloshing around inside my head like a particularly spectacular Formula One pile up and my fingers are itching to type. But what to do first?

I’ve been working on a few things, slowly, for the past few months, a Discworld fan-fiction piece about Rincewind; a comedy fantasy novel about a vampire; a biography about my life as a type one diabetic; a kids book I’ve been working on for a couple of years now.

All these conflicting stories are arguing for precedence, so what I’m going to do is…go to sleep! Life is complicated enough at the moment without worrying about what and when to write, so I just need to put digits to keyboard whenever I get the chance.

Wish me luck!


Planning – Jump

After writing out my character profiles I started creating the scene by scene plan for what was going to happen. This was an interesting process as it started off seeming fairly simple, but as I got further in I had to keep cross referencing my eleven characters parts in the story and checking that they all took place in the right chronological order and didn’t encroach on anyone else’s happenings.

I was vaguely surprised to find that I had produced about 107 scenes, all of which seemed to make some kind of narrative sense and actually added to the story. However after checking it a few times I managed to get this down to a magic 100. I was quite pleased as this gave me a goal of producing 1,000 words per scene so that the book would end up at about 100,000 when it was done.

Below I’ve included the first two chapters’ worth of rows from the spreadsheet, mostly scene setting and information for the reader to get them up to speed with the background of a few of the characters and the version of the world this is happening in.

Of course to anyone but me most of this stuff probably makes no sense at all, but then I had previously spent quite some time writing a potted history…and future, I guess, of each of the people I’m talking about here, so I knew exactly what I was doing, kind’a!




Chapter Scene Scene Detail Character/Media
One 1 Teleportation breakthrough Michael Cooke
2 EARTH (Environmental Assistance, Rehabilitation, Training and Health) Force story – who are they? What are they? Newspaper Article
3 In café reading newspaper (above) Oliver Cornell
4 “Alan” is “dropped off” and starts looking for EF Ian Brookfield
5 Discussion of teleportation device and special forces involvement, who to “get” for the team Robert Masterson, Roberts Brigadier, General and Minister of Defence
Two 6 Unidentified individual sits in room Googleing, “EARTH Force”, “EF contacts”, etc. “Non-confrontational” in results, etc.! David Moulder
7 “Alan” meets Jonny at Natural History Museum – Minerals Gallery Ian Brookfield, Jonathan Dent
8 Contact with military – “I need an assistant” Michael Cooke, Robert Masterson
9 Reading CVs to find assistant – ???concentrate on Celia’s??? Michael Cooke



Who Is Michael Cooke? – Jump

The next stage in the Snowflake process (that I used, you can pick and choose. It’s not prescriptive!) Was to start creating my characters.

I decided to start with the main protagonist, Michael Cooke. I don’t recall where his name came from, possibly a slight reference to my Dad, Mike. But as I recall the name just jumped into my head one day and seemed to fit.

Planning the characters allows you to sign them physical features, but also let’s you plan out their role in the story. It let me get to know the people I was going to write about and also helped me start putting the meat on the story.

Before I did this I didn’t really know how the plot was going to proceed, but once done I felt like the story might actually work.

I’ve removed the last line in case you ever get to read it so it’s not completely spoiled!

Please excuse any spelling, grammar or nonsense as the whole thing was a bit of a stream of consciousness/brain dump/note to self. If you can make sense of it then you’ve obviously been following my ‘blog too closely, for which I thank you.


Michael Cooke
Appearance – 5’11, attractive, athletic (obvious six pack), very short hair colour indistinct, blue eyes, tattoo across his left shoulder blade which is the equation which allows the matter transporter to function, wears short sleeved shirts and jeans. Only uses surnames!
Doctor of Physics, Thoughtful and intelligent with an ability to think outside the box. Spent ten years working alone on the idea for teleportation before perfecting the technology, then due to an accident (involving a freshly brewed really hot cup of tea???) he found that objects could be transported through time as well as space.
He was contacted by military intelligence not long afterwards and offered resources to complete his research and development but only asked for a small grant and the chance to hire an assistant, he found Celia Jones.
It took him three months to find Celia while carrying on his work and a further six months to turn the accidental discovery in to a theory followed by a practical working prototype. This was then developed with the military (commanded by Robert Masterson) in to a version which could transport larger objects such as trucks or…weapons.
BSc from Exeter University, PhD from Cambridge in the Quantum Matter team at Cavendish Laboratory getting a job at a small company funded by an unnamed benefactor which allowed him to spend the time he needed developing the technology.
His main driver for the idea was to be able to transport items around the planet without the usual environmental and monetary costs of shipping and handling and therefore allow third world and developing nations the same access to technology and human resources (engineers, doctors, etc.) as first world countries.
As the Jumps proceed Michael becomes worried that the issues which are becoming apparent are man-made rather than caused by some issue with the machine and on his persuasion the team make the Jumps back to investigate.
When an offender with an ulterior motive is surmised Michael takes it upon himself to investigate further and identify the perpetrator. He finds out that David Moulder is part of an underground eco-terrorism group who believe that all problems with modern day environmental issues are purely caused by humans and have come to the decision that if the human race could be extinguished that all other animals and plants would be safe.
He reports this to Robert who gets Ian to infiltrate the group (six months previously!?) and find out everything he can about them and their plans to destroy humanity.
Meanwhile Michael and the team (including David so as not to arouse suspicion) head back to fix the problems, two Jumps are made without incident but by the third Jump Robert has decided it is time for David to be dismissed, so accompanies the team and ‘disposes of him’.