The Story Rainbow

(Title note:Boy oh boy I hope LeVar Burton doesn’t have my legs broken for referencing “reading rainbow”. Big fan, Jordi! Totally an homage)

The fruits of the newest iteration of my work process: a rainbow of murder!


No, wait. That is a terrible name. Forget I said that. Sure, the novel-to-be that’s outlined on the index cards below is a hardboiled detective story about trying to stop a serial killer. But really, “rainbow of murder” is possibly the worst thing I’ve come up with as a title. Let’s never speak of it again.

For the fans of the process of writing a book AKA literary sausage-making, here’s what my current procedure is:

1)have a story idea (pretty obvious). A beginning scene and an ending scene are the basics.

2)write a list of chapter titles, attempting to make the titles colourful and informative. NO ADDITIONAL NOTES OR DETAILS. Then walk away for a bit.

3)For each chapter, write an index card of plot points. NO ADDITIONAL NOTES OR DETAILS. STILL! Walk away again.

4) write a 1/2 page synopsis for each chapter. THIS IS WHERE YOUR NOTES/DETAILS GO. Walk away and forget about the story for a little while.

5) If you’re ready, write the first chapter. If not, expand the 1/2 page to a full page per chapter. Chill out, hero. You’re doing it.

6) repeat step 5 until you’ve got a first draft.

DISCLAIMER: I’m only at step 4 right now, so I can’t say for certain that this is the path to a fantastic (read:less monstrously terrible) first draft. What I do know is that the stress of making a million cognitive leaps and guesses has been chopped into more manageable, bite-sized pieces. Progress, one piece at a time!

Published by Chris

I'm an author, freelance writer, dad, and civic busybody living in London, Ontario

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