Guest post: book planning using PowerPoint

I'm delighted to share a guest post with you today by Angela Nurse. She said that she was planning her new book on PowerPoint and I was intrigued... Scrivener, index cards, pen and paper, Excel... all these I had heard of being used in planning, and most of them I'd tried, but PowerPoint?

Happily, Angela said she would share her thinking with me, and all of you. Over to you, Angela! (btw... I love the idea of a 'murder board' and can't see why it wouldn't be appropriate in a living room...)
[click on any picture to enlarge]

PowerPoint Planning

I am not big on planning when it comes to my writing. I usually know who the main players are, the inciting incident and probably the end though that can be subject to change. Historically I have done a big picture mind map of plot points at the beginning but nothing else before I start work on my first draft. As I write the draft I would make an index card for each of the main characters and add points to it as I go through.

My current project is a little bit more complicated, so I decided it would require more planning than I’m used to. Also, after having recently finishing editing my last project I am hyper aware that my current system can cause spelling errors and inconsistencies that I have to spend ages correcting.

Originally, I thought I'd need a ‘murder board’ - a large whiteboard where I can stick things up and make changes - but that isn’t practical for me because at the moment I’m not working from my office, I don’t have the space and my husband said it wasn’t appropriate for the living room. I use PowerPoint a lot for my day job and I realised it was the ideal tool for the job.

I used for all the photos; I use this for my blog as they are copyright free and I know there’s a huge selection to choose from.

PowerPoint has allowed me to identify my main players, write notes on their backstory and, importantly, I can add to this really easily as I write my first draft. It allows me to incorporate my mind map and for me, because I am working over two time frames, I can keep a time line of each one and again add to it or easily change it as I write.

PowerPoint is really easy to use and with a bit of imagination you can really customise it to be exactly what you need. You can use your own photographs, if you have a printer that also scans you can scan your own drawings onto your computer and then include them.

I love a note book and stationery in general, so I’ll never stop using pen and paper but I’m really excited about the way this new style of planning will work for me and how I’ll be able to expand its data organically to support my writing process. This is really important to me as I don’t have the luxury of being able to write everyday.

Thank you so much, Angela, for sharing your ideas about book planning.
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