Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ben Bova's DESK BOOK

I read Ben Bova's THE CRAFT OF WRITING SCIENCE FICTION today. I realized I'd been using one of Mr. Bova's critical tools since my first novel — the Desk Book, but he suggests a component I hadn't thought of, or heard discussed in any workshops.

In project management, my previous field, we had a handy document we called the Project Book. Not too different from the Desk Book. It holds the project time-line. Mr. Bova recommends using the time-line to help you track your use of 'tagonists and minor characters. By plotting by chapter where you mention/introduce a character, what chapters they participate, when you kill them off, you see a new side of your novel.

In a project's time-line, it helps you manage the project by resources, exactly what the character chart does. If a character disappears, was there any point in introducing him? Do you introduce too many characters at once? Do you have too many characters? By leaving a character out of the plot for an extended time, have you lost the advantage of that personality or viewpoint?

Those are a few of the things it can give you. I expect I will find new uses. I am eager to try it on my next novel, which will be a sequel to my RENEE DE RAIS.

Write Every Day!


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