Yes, it's been a long time, hasn't it. I can't believe how long really, but there you go: I've been writing.
I think I had about 95,000 words for the first half of my novel, and I realised that it'd taken me far too many words to get to this point in the story: and so I went through it cutting and cutting and stitching the remains together.
On top of this I knew that I needed a wide spread of characters with which to enter the second half. This meant I added some new bits to the whole: scenes, comments, memories.
And after a month or so's work I had cut 95,000 words back down to about 55,000: and with a much stronger story than before.
When I was sure I had a solid foundation then I started the second half of the novel.
It was clear to me that the writing would have to be very tight to get all the key stories and storylines into the second half, and so I went through the novel, scene by scene, plotting it out onto the wall of my office.
There are many different ways of planning a novel, and I have heard and seen comparisons that range from concertos to graphs, but I find the best way is in terms of Acts and Scenes, much as I learnt at school when reading Shakespeare.
It's not only a good way of plotting the novel, but it also helps to plan the scenes ahead. I'm banging on now, and the writing has been flowing easily, almost too easily at times, and I've found I've had to go back at times to add scenes and flesh out storylines.
But it's all great fun. I've also identified a number of scenes I should have written in the first half, but rather than go back and write them now, Ive put them into my novel planner in different colours and am treating them as scenes that have been written, and pushing on towards the end: which is out there somewhere...
Characters: as a note to myself, I've also rediscovered that characters with pasts are more compelling than characters with futures. Something to remember for the future.