This week I learned of the passing of Jack Whyte. He was a Scottish Canadian author who authored some of my favourite series. These included one about King Arthur, comprised of nine books, and another dealing with the Templar Knights. Both had a profound effect on how I wanted to write.
I was also struck by a number of similarities between us, though I only discovered them when reading of his accomplishments. We both emigrated to Canada in the same year (1967), and he produced seventeen novels throughout his career (I currently have the same number for sale). Additionally, he was a devotee of the program Scrivener, something I only discovered when researching this article.
Jack Whyte was traditionally published and sold over 1.25 million copies in Canada alone—a phenomenal success by any standard. He died this past Tuesday at the age of eighty.
For more information about Jack Whyte and his books, please visit his official website at:
Since I just started in on Inferno (The Frozen Flame: Book 4), I thought I might share some of my preparation techniques. Although I’d already started an outline right after I finished book three, I needed to make sure the story elements were in place. I created a quick one-sentence list of each chapter and the key takeaways from it. This allowed me to structure the story into three acts and ensure I had enough content to fill a book.
This gave me an outline with 33 chapters (plus an epilogue), the same number as the last two books, so the length looks good. Invariably, as I write the story, this will grow, but it’s a good starting point.
Next, I listed the major plot points I want to introduce—the idea being to stop me from wandering off track. The last step, which I’m still working on, is to list each character and map out their contribution to the tale. I had planned to have several characters returning from previous books, but there’s no sense in bringing them back if they don’t serve a useful purpose.
As you can probably tell, I believe in thoroughly plotting out my books. It is not uncommon for me to have twenty to thirty pages in the outline by the time I am done.
Until next time, happy reading!
Paul Bennett, Writer of Epic Fantasy Stories.