Establishing shot with Title.

It’s a sunny day, and a dirt road is winding through a forest into a clearing. A gnome shaped figure is crouched behind a bush. There’s a silhouette of a cart coming down the road, but it’s still deep in the forest.


Closer now, we can see the bald GNOME is dressed in what might have been nice clothing before it suffered multiple explosions, singes and stains. His beard is singed and he has an eyepatch over one eye. The gnome isn’t really crouched, he’s small enough to be able to just stand there. He’s nervous, paying attention to the (offscreen) carriage. The gnome is reaching into a sack that is remarkably cleaner than he is.

  1. GNOME (Whispering)

Last Time, I didn’t know that thief was a mage. But I’ve got something to take care of that fireball-throwing jerk. Steal my blueprints, will you?!

PANEL 3 (inset panel)

Close up on the Gnome’s hand as he triumphantly pulls a large coin-shaped token that is about the size of a coaster from the sack. The token has a swirl etched into it with some arcane symbols. The Token is shiny and gleaming.



  1. GNOME

The Mage’s Guild wasn’t happy that they had a scab running around, undercutting their rates.


The Cart and its guards are emerging from the forest into the clearing. There’s two generic GUARDS on foot in front of the cart wearing basic armor. One is a half-orc woman, and the other is a gender-neutral elf. The cart is pulled by a grumpy looking Mule. The cart’s contents are covered with red cloth that has a few… scorch marks. Sitting on the cart is a human wizard with the worst wispy moustache ever.


The GNOME pops out from behind the bush and throws the Token to the ground as hard as he can. So hard that he’s up in the air, stubby legs out to either side like Elmer Fudd does when he throws his hat on the ground.

  1. SFX – TOKEN




Reaction shot of the Cart. The two guards are at the ready, the Half-Orc with a spear at the ready and the Human with sword drawn. The Merchant and Wizard are both pulling back with surprised/worried expressions.


The GNOME stands in the road, staring at the TOKEN that is now lying in the dirt. The bush that he had been hiding behind is just behind him and off to the side.


Close up of the TOKEN in the dirt, wind lazily blowing a leaf by it.

  1. SFX – Leaf



Close up on the GNOME’s face. He’s staring hard at where the Token is lying in the dirt with eyes wide and sweat beading on his forehead. He IS CONCERNED.


Reaction shot of the Wizard sitting on the cart, looking amused and a little confused.


Was… that supposed to do something? Or are you trying to buy back your–


Light explodes from the token up, turning the GNOME into a hazy silhouette as the light rays ‘blind’ the reader from seeing him clearly.

  1. SFX – Magic




The Wizard Panics! With one arm shielding his eyes from the bright light, he throws a fireball with his other.

  1. WIZARD (yelling)

AUGH! My eyes!

  1. SFX – Fireball



The Fireball impacts on a figure that’s standing where the token was, splashing out around the figure and making their silhouette hazy, hard to see.


The GNOME is huddled into a ball on the ground and trembling, arms over his head and certain of death. But we can see the scorch marks on the ground split to either side of him. Whoever the token summoned blocked the impact and left a lee of safety.


Looking up, we see a broad figure blocking out the sun. It’s a (lady) ORC, with full tusks, jutting jaw, broad shoulders. GHAT is all shoulders and muscle, think Strongwoman competition build. She’s wearing shamanic style leathers with Spikes and bones attached and is holding a massive club on her shoulder that’s more baseball bat than staff. FIERCE AS FUCK, mean and scarred, her mohawk is smouldering a bit, but she’s unhurt.

  1. GHAT (orc) (Super heavy and gravelly text)

Guild send Ghat. Ghat Five star, Gnome see.


Reaction shot of the Cart. The ELF looks confused, the HALF-ORC Looks afraid. The Wizard looks insulted, as though the idea of an Orc mage was repulsive. And how DARE she shrug off his fireball?


But! Orcs can’t use magic- that’s-


WIZARD Throws two more fireballs toward GHAT.


THAT’S NOT POSSIBLE. Orcs can’t use Magic!

  1. SFX – Fireball

Ffftooom! FWoom!


GHAT lets the Fireballs hit her directly, not bothering to try to shield herself or dodge them. They splash into and around her, once again the Gnome is safe in the lee of her massive body.



With the dust and flames clearing around her Ghat is still standing, staring down the Wizard and the Cart. She’s pointing with a massive hand at their direction.

  1. GHAT (split into two bubbles)

Ghat Say–



Shot of the two guards who had been at the ready earlier. The HALF-ORC sits immediately, looking terrified. The ELF next to her is confused, looking over at her.


What are you—get back UP!

SFX – half orc


PANEL 3 – inset

The HALF-ORC shakes her head, eyes wide in fear. Nope. NO WAY. NUH UH. She was staying put.


Close up of GHAT looming behind the ELF, showed and eyes glinting. The ELF shivers, a bead of sweat rolling down their jaw, eyes wide and unfocused as they *FEEL* the danger behind them.

  1. GHAT

Ghat Cast–


Ghat slams her Club into the HUMAN GUARD, slamming them face down into the dirt in a very cartoony indent-the-ground kind of way.

  1. GHAT



The WIZARD is standing now, hands held out in an ‘AW COME ON’ gesture.


You hit him with your club! That’s not magic! That’s cheating!


Ghat looks up, club still resting on the back of the head of the HUMAN GUARD who is knocked the fuck out. She looks somehow more grim than she initially did as she turns to look up at the Wizard in the Cart a few steps away from her.

  1. GHAT

Sleep need touch. Ghat spell special. Baby-man not know much magic.


The WIZARD is too angry to notice lifting his hands up over his head and gathering fire between them to get the fireballs ready.


That’s not how that works! That’s now how magic works! I’ll show you what I’m capable of. Just like I showed-



A massive (green if in colour) hand grabs the Wizard around the throat, cutting off his air and as aresult, his words.

  1. GHAT


  1. 2. WIZARD

Urk! Hnnng! Leggo!


GHAT pulls the WIZARD off the cart, holding him level with her. Her eyes are narrowed and the Wizard realizes he’s made a horrible mistake. He’s holding onto Ghat’s hand but there’s no way he’s getting free.

  1. GHAT

Baby no talk; baby no magic.


Birds eye view of the road with GHAT holding the WIZARD, the ELF is still knocked out, the HALF-ORC still sitting and the Gnome kneeling in the road between two scorch marks.

  1. GHAT

Baby-magic not Okay. Guild angry.


GHAT drags the WIZARD along the road to the Token. He’s kicking spindly legs behind him in a vain effort to get free. His face is flushed from lack of air and also angry embarrassment. The Token is already glowing.

  1. GHAT

Gnome rate Ghat; Five star. Thank.


The Token flares up again.

  1. SFX – Token



Where the Token was flutters down a piece of paper.


Close up of the paper which has the symbol the Token did (Guild of mages) and the stars are outlines only, to be filled in.

  1. PAPER – Text

Tell us how ____GHAT___ did today!

😦 😐 😀

* * * * *

Novel Idea Plan

It’s time for another behind the scenes post! Today I’ll be sharing an annotated version of the Novel Plan I’ve used for pretty much each long-form Story since I started Entropic Horizons.

It’s cribbed together from advice from different authors (Mostly Chuck Wendig who has written extensively on writing at [This is also why this post is free, because I won’t take credit for other people’s work.]

I’ll attach a template of a blank plan for your use in the future, but in the meantime, I’ll walk you through a [redacted] version of my current Novel Plan for Taking Names.

Before we start…

A few points before we dig into things!

  1. Everyone works differently. If something doesn’t work for you, jettison it.
  2. This is the order of the document template I use, but not the order I fill it up in. I hop around adding notes as I come up with them.
  3. This is a living document, that means it changes when it needs to.
    1. A character not working out? Deleted!
    2. Timeline or motivations have changed in the process of writing? Cool, update them.
  4. This is mostly a way for me to solidify ideas and keep track of things I might forget like a character’s secondary motivation that then comes back to kick them in the teeth in Act two.

TL;DR – Too Long; Didn’t Read

For non Internet-natives, TL;DR means “Too long; didn’t read” and is basically a short summary of a very long post in a few lines.


In my case, I use the TL;DR as a way to boil down the idea I’m working on into a snappy pitch. I write down the genre and the working title. I like titles, but if it changes later on, that’s cool. This is just to make sure I don’t have NI_Untitled_01.doc through 100 in my writing folder.

Let’s get Critical

This is mostly just throwing ideas down into words. It started out as just “A coming of age story that’s like John Wick but with ladies.”

Using Wendig’s ‘Cardinal Questions’, I tried to think about if other people will want to read this. Then I thought about who might not and if I would care.


Critical Questions

For me, the questions “What is this about” and “Who are these people” Are the most important. “Why will anyone care” is not as much a big deal since I’m not novelpublished and I need to focus on the story instead of marketing right now. (Which is tricky, I’m used to doing all at once with my other endeavours).


Above, in the Critical Questions, I list the Characters. It’s just a list of their names and a two-to-three word description of their role in life/the story.

After, I have more in-depth profiles for the main group of characters. Sif, my main character, is full of spoilers, so I replaced it with ‘stuff’  for now. Sorry!


Wendig has a lot more questions about characterization, but I picked a few that I plan to focus on. In my writing I really like focusing on how Wants and Needs are different, and sometimes at odds. It’s more interesting if they’re at odds. Which will win out? WHO KNOWS? (I do, but the story’s not done yet.)

The Three beat Arc is probably my favourite of Wendig’s Questions though. I don’t like static characters, and want to avoid writing them. Planning out the roles/approach and how those change over time helps me sort out their general path.

Pitch and Summary

A sort of distillation and expansion of the TL;DR AT THE SAME TIME. Only like, separate.

I haven’t bothered with the longer pitch, that can wait until I’m done writing draft one, and have a better idea of where and how things explode. I mean happen. Where things happen.


I had a realization that Keanu Reeves is having far too much influence in this story already, and now need to find some way to insert an easter egg reference. Also the name “John.”

World Building

Ah yes. The Fantasy novelist’s favourite thing. Well, some of them. I’ve talked to some writers who happily tell me their world building bible is like 300 pages. But. I’m not one of those people? I have limited time and energy so bullet points and rules it is!


There’s a few main topics that I need to solidify in my plan before I start contradicting myself all over the place. I’ve put them down here:

  • The Taggarts, a family that features prominently in the story, will have a list of family members and a family tree to avoid accidentally making an aunt also a cousin.
    • I’ll also include a basic history that is important to the story. All families have history and it helps make interactions between family members feel more real.
  • Magic! Magic needs rules to follow if it’s to feel ‘real’ in a story. This is where I’ll put down the general idea behind magic in this world and what rules it has to follow. Again, I try to keep the rules short and blunt.
    • Consequences of magic
    • who has access to it
    • how it’s perceived, etc.

Out of Line

Okay. This is the part that I have the most trouble with. What happens WHEN?

Again, Wendig comes to the rescue with the idea of “Alpha/Omega” of a story. What’s the Start and end? I added a middle/turning point for myself, but that happened after I had worked on the events for a while.


Smooth Sailing is boring sailing

The shortest path from A to B is only optimal in math and physics. Life is made interesting by the obstacles in our way, and how we overcome them. Same with characters, so here we go. What obstacles face down your character? Unless you’re writing sword and sorcery, chances are there’s going to be a lot of non-physical obstacles. Again, the suggestions come from Wendig’s blog.


Sorry for all the spoilers. Sif faces Intellectual, Social and Moral obstacles before she even bumps up against the big bad. I kept it vague, rather than specify exact situations. The specifics will come later. (Like, right now actually)

Time isn’t Made Out of Lines

Outdated Red vs Blue quotes aside, Time doesn’t always happen in a line. If you have time travel, maybe have a few ‘timelines’. One of how the characters experience events, one of how the chronological events occur.

There’s lots of ways to produce a timeline but I like the ‘beat sheet’ method. I… like bullet points. Simple. Room for growth, and for fiddly, wiggly, messy things that people do in response to events.


After my basic timeline, I created a table to keep track of who’s doing what. The main four characters, Main events and by Chapter.


This was inspired by that semi-famous image of J.K. Rowling’s hand written graph for Order of the Phoenix.

The Hero’s Journey*


It’s just a simplified version of my main timeline, mapping events to the stages of a hero’s journey. It’s not necessarily in order, and the Hero’s Journey doesn’t apply to a lot of my stories, but it does to this one.

Hero's journey

Stakes: Not just for Sparkle Vampires

Decisions should matter. Choices should matter. This is something that games like the Witcher 3 have hammered into me. If you’re not familiar with the Quest about the demon-tree, go read about it. Talk about choices having consequences.

So, something has to ride on those decisions, and those are the stakes. What’s at st- yeah. That.


But, as the character changes (See 3 Beat Arc), the stakes should change too. Preferably escalate, but jumping sideways is good too.

Three C’s

I swear I thought I got this from Wendig but I can’t find the exact post.  ANYWAYS.



Conflicts – Similar to obstacles, but characters can have internal conflicts, which can be harder to over come than physical ones.

Complications – Life, art, and cooking should all be messy. Stories too

Consequences – Like we talked about for the Stakes, decisions and actions should have consequences. If your character punches Random Extra #3, then do they get arrested for Assault? Does Random Extra #3 pull a Goku and level up to come beat up the character in Act 3?

Editing and Stuff

This is basically just a way to keep track of where I’m at when I have to go through Draft 1 (or 5) and what I’m focusing on. Otherwise I’ll forever tweak dialogue and avoid grammar forever.



Again, these are highly optional. But I’ve found something super inspiring in the past then lost it and struggled to find that image again. So now I tend to log the really impressive stuff either on a private Tumblr, pinterest or in the document.


If you aren’t familiar with Peter Mohrbacher and his Angelarium, please go drool over his weird, wonderful art.

general aesthetics

This is probably over-planning, but I leave a lot of the sections half empty or empty until I’m actively writing the story so I can refer back to my plan as I get deep into the story.

That’s it, if you have a different process, I’d like to hear about it!


Chuck Wendig


  • Peter Mohrbacher
  • Tumblr posts that sadly don’t credit artists. I’m still looking for the original sources of the two photographs.