SCENE #This is going to take me a while -- I'm only up to the first scene of Chapter Two so far -- but I think it'll be very worthwhile in helping me see which parts of the story are redundant, where there isn't enough ! and too much ? or vice versa, and what parts can be moved around to more useful and interesting locations.
This is important primarily for sorting purposes.
Self-explanatory, I should think...
The Year and Date columns help me, the author, to keep track of the timeline; the seasons are what the faeries themselves would notice.
This plays a much bigger role in the plot than it would in another story, so it gets its own column. I already know that I have too much snow and ice for the (unspecified, but known to me) location, and not enough rainy/overcast days, so this will help me figure out where I can cut back on the one and add to the other. I may end up adding another column for phases of the moon, because there are a fair number of night scenes and I'd hate to screw that up.
= Other Characters (in the scene). The whole book is from Knife's POV, so I don't need to specify that she will always be present. But it helps to know which other characters are in each scene, so I can see where I might have introduced new characters too late in the story, or not given them enough screen time. I think I'll take a page from Randy Ingermanson and give each character their own color, so I can see their role in the story at a glance.
I had to specify "MAIN" to myself because otherwise I ended up filling the column with everything that happened in the scene. So instead of describing the Action in Chapter 1 Scene 1 as "Wink and Bryony argue about why she can't go outside, and then Bryony escapes and meets a human child and Wink has to rescue her and then faints," I now have "Bryony escapes, meets human child", which is the part that really matters.
This reminds me which bits of info are really important and must be included elsewhere if I should happen to strike that particular scene.
= type of scene. Is it primarily action (!), or information (?), or romance (X)? Of course, I try to make scenes do double or triple duty as much as possible, so I may end up with a ?! or a !X here and there. But mostly I try to pick a symbol that most characterizes what's happening in that scene.
I'm still brainstorming as I go, as well. While making my notes on the opening chapters, I realized that I had introduced an unnecessary plot complication solely for the purpose of creating one dramatic scene, so I've decided to strike that particular element* and save myself the trouble.
Also, I hope nobody was too attached to the Prologue (which is still up on my website), because it is SO GONE. Much as I enjoyed the repartee between Wink and Thorn, there isn't a thing in there that we don't or can't find out later in the story.
* It's the spell-fatigue thing, for those of you who know what I'm talking about.