The Benefit of a Scene List

For The Coven of Essex, I created a scene list. I'd done so for short stories before, but never for novels. In my Thesis class for my master's degree, I had to write part of a novel, including a synopsis. The synopsis covered the main plot points, character development, themes and symbolism, but it didn't help me much when it came to writing the middle of the book.
This time, knowing that I wanted to write the draft of this novel for NaNoWriMo, and that it would likely be well over 50,000 words (I am estimating 90,000), I wanted to make sure I didn't get to the middle of my story and wonder what to write about.
So I decided to make a scene list.
Think of a scene list like a map...minus the issues folding it back up!
Think of a scene list like a map...minus the issues folding it back up!
It took me about four hours to complete. I included the scene number, a one-sentence description, the POV character (my book has three), any other characters active in the scene, and a column to check off when a scene was completed.
In total, I planned 90 scenes. As of right now, after two days of drafting, I am 12 scenes into the book...that leaves only 78 to go! But I know, with the scene list, that I won't hit the middle pages and struggle to fill them. It gives me great peace of mind. I suggest, if you're going to write a work of any length (but especially a novel) that you construct a scene list.

The Nitty Gritty

If you're curious, I have an love Scrivener but because this month will have me writing in multiple locations, and I only have Scrivener on my desktop, I created my scene list as a simple Google Sheet. I actually also created sheets within the same file for characters and settings, to generate a complete planning file. It's been a huge help thus far.


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