When it comes to writing, I’m a planner. When I’m starting a new project, typically I’ll spend a few weeks plotting it out before I start writing the first draft. For the most part this takes the form of long walks, letting my mind wander, taking notes into my phone.
Note: If you haven’t yet read March of the Cogsmen and plan to eventually do so, this entry contains major spoilers.
At some point I take the various digital audio files, note cards, and loose notebook pages, and compile them together into a Scrivener project file. As an example, here’s the stepsheet I did for the Galvanic Century mystery story March of the Cogsmen.
Each bullet point represents an event rather than a scene; scenes may cover multiple entries, or a single entry may involve multiple scenes. If it seems terse, keep in mind that I have separate note files for each character and setting element. Perhaps, if there’s interest, I’ll showcase those in a future blog post.
- Bartleby and James arrive at the station, Bartleby drunk. He gets talked to by the Constable, who backs off when he discovers who it is.
- The Valet drives Bartleby and James to the house. Talking about the town, the Fiskes, etc. James is enthused.
- Arrival. Introduced to Fiske. He doesn’t mention the drunkenness. Aldora does, disparaging. Gives him the task of greeting guests.
- Aldora has word with her father, then visits her mother. We get a glimpse of her home life.
- Aldora oversees Penny + Lian. Thoughts drift to Turky. Discussing Penny’s father, which exposes a moment of vulnerability to Alton.
- Aldora watches Bartleby greet. Reflections on their relationship.
- Bartleby greets constable. Mentions disappearances. Bartleby investigates, given go-ahead by mother.
- Bartleby questioning people. Gets a feeling for the nature of the company town. No one wants to talk about the Fiskes.
- Bartleby gets sidetracked by shipping manifest discrepancies. Constable questions. Bartleby explains his process.
- Sobering up, goes drinking. Constable calls him out. Expounds on nature of wedding and relationship with Aldora.
- Grayson arrives at the wedding. This is shocking to Aldora, as her brother is dead. She challenges him.
- He is physically accosted, and his state is revealed. Mass Panic ensues.
- Grayson attacks. The Valet holds him off while Aldora and her parents escape.
- Aldora and her parents flee while Grayson pursues them throughout their home. Cat and mouse game. Scares galore. Grayson seems impervious to injury.
- They find temporary safety somewhere. Aldora cops to killing Grayson as “how she knew” he wasn’t himself. Her parents reject her.
- Grayson takes James’ daughter. He goes berserk. Utterly destroys the former man.
- Bartleby returns. Is brought up to speed. Aldora tears him down for not being there.
- James is examining the corpse. Discussing its workings. Bartleby reveals his own discoveries.
- Cogsmen break into the lab. B&J beat them off. They barricade themselves in the estate with Aldora, Fiskes, and the guests while the cogsmen amass outside.
- There’s a near mutiny as guests freak out despite Aldora’s attempts to keep control.
- Bartleby rises to the occasion. Organizes a defense. The cogsmen are held off.
- Jago makes himself known through the cogsmen. Issues demands.
- Bartleby comes up with plan. Aldora is resistant. They come to terms. She is to seek out Jago while James + Fiske search for frequency and Bartleby and Guests fend of cogsmen.
- Aldora sneaks out. Evades cogsmen. Reflects on who they used to be.
- Bartleby gets word that she’s left estate. Pep talks. Rebuffs Regina, and shows loyalty to Aldora. B & J at transmitter; give coordinates of Jago. Relays.
- Aldora confronts Jago. They spar. He’s winning. Then Bartleby shows up, reveals the weakness, which Jago uses. Aldora defeats him; lets him live.
- Epilogue: Fiske has Jago executed. Cold, dark speech.