I began chapter 4 yesterday.

Over the last several days I’ve had some plot epiphanies bubble up through the gumbo of my subconscious, and so I’ve decided that my project for this week will be to outline the book. I’m hoping for about 400-450 pages in about 20 chapters. I know that the average first novel is about 350-400, so that’ll be subject to change, depending on what happens in the outline.

Today, I outlined the first 3 chapters that I have, to take stock, and beginning tomorrow, I’ll see what I can do about sketching a time line in the chapters to see how much time I want this book to cover. Once I have the major plot movements located, I’ll fill in with interpersonal details and ideas.

So, how far will Substances of Shadows go? Certainly through the demon trials of Esme, Errol, and Eurydice. There will be family history as well, with some glimpses into the Elaine/Isolde dynamic, and some questions about Geoffrey, Marcellus, Flavia and Melisande. Since it’s a first book, I know I need to focus on making the story as complete as possible, leaving those interesting exploration points unexplored, unless they relate to the movement of this plot.

I think the outline is a wise idea, so it doesn’t just ramble wherever it wants to, specifically since I have some bench marks in this rewrite I want to make sure I hit.

More to come, of course. So far, we have 67 pages. Only 313 more or so to go. 🙂 At least some of them are already written.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.