Planning Scenes in a Novel with LEGO Sets

Matt Gemmell describes what he did to write scenes in the first draft of his novel:

There are a number of fast-paced action scenes in the novel, involving multiple characters. I very quickly ran into a need to plan the dynamics of such scenes: which person is where, at any given time, and how everyone moves as the scene plays out.

I initially did this with sketches on paper, but my wife came up with a better idea: Lego people! I assembled very basic “sets” (essentially just platforms for any scenes taking place on multiple levels, such as one I have in a multi-level library), and used Lego people for the characters. It was a fun distraction, but more importantly, it was suddenly much clearer to me how everyone moved through the scene. Progressions became evident where previously I’d been scratching my head.

Matt puts this much effort into the detail of all his work. If you like to read workflows for writers, this is a good article by Matt. I’ll be interested in reading his book, Changer, when it’s eventually released. It should make a splash.


Joe Darnell

Joe is a UI and graphic designer with prior experience as the creative director for three media-based businesses. Joe’s passionate about web design and graphic design with about 15 years of experience in the media industry. Additionally, Joe is the host of the Top Brew and Techtonic podasts, both featured on iTunes.