So, as on previous occasions, once again here is a glimpse into the complete story design for the latest cycle of ARISEN material, Books Eleven and Twelve. As before there are definite SPOILERS if you haven't read these books. (Though I've closed the folders for the rest of the series, so you're safe there.)
I've changed things up a bit, as I continue to evolve the story design process. Basically, this time I had the (perhaps too-) clever idea of integrating all the views. Every "beat" in the story gets a document, but each has several faces/functions. You can see these below (click image for a full-size view): each has a name in the file tree (left); a notecard view (upper right); a dumping ground for all the notes related to that beat (lower right); and, finally and this is the really clever bit the body of the document (second to left) is a one-paragraph-ish, readable description of what happens in that beat. When all of these are concatenated together, they produce a readable treatment of the entire story at about 1/6th of what the final length would actually be. (That's an actual chapter, written from the beat's treatment, in the next window to the right.)
Then, before I'd written a word, I could send the treatments around to my faithful beta readers, and find out if I was on anything like the right track. Where I wasn't, I could make changes a lot easier than trying to re-architect a fully fleshed-out manuscript. And when I shuffled beats around, everything notecard, notes, treatment moved with it. This was a lot more work in the design phase, but if not less work on the writing side then a lot less risk (of catastrophic wrong turns), and (if I do say so myself) a hell of a lot better final material (see bottom section, below the image).
It Went Right
If you've been following along, you may recall that I copped to doing some critical things wrong in the last two books, and vowed to get them right the next time out. Well, I'm pretty sure it worked. But it's the readers who get to make that judgement.
And so far they're voting thumbs-up 8^) a 5.0-star average, out of five. As noted elsewhere, getting these two books written was absolutely the fight of my life. That I seemed to come out on top in the end is a pretty great feeling. On to the next one.