Ghostwriter Diaries – One Last Time Around


It’s landed! The outline for book three, the final volume of the middle-grade fantasy trilogy is here. Thanks to some judicious schedule-juggling by my awesome editorial team, its arrival is a whole fortnight early. That’s great news, since it gives me two extra weeks to play with. Thanks, guys!

Early this morning, as birds celebrated the dawn and I downed my first strong coffee of the day, I created what will become my working document for the novel I’m about to ghostwrite – a Scrivener project containing all the reference material I’ve amassed over the past couple of years, including character lists, maps, and the complete final manuscripts of books one and two.

Within this master document, I’ll next create a separate text file for each chapter. The Scrivener format includes a “Document Notes” section for every such file, into which I’ll paste the relevant chapter outline. So, each time I start a new chapter, I’ll be faced with (a) a blank page ready to be filled with dramatic scenes of action, comedy, heartbreak and all points between, and (b) an at-a-glance reminder of the storyline I’m following.

Just as important, given the punishing timescales associated with any ghostwriting assignment, is a file called “Schedule”. This one’s very simple – just a list of “week commencing” dates, each marked with the number of the chapter I need to have reached by that day.

By tomorrow evening, all this machinery should be in place. Which will leave me no choice but to start writing. This is the best part really – those few precious days when you heartily believe that what you’re about to produce is going to be the best thing anyone ever wrote. Ever. Waiting down the line, of course, are nothing but screw-ups and tears.

Until then, I plan to bask in the surety that, for this brief moment of time, anything is possible.


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