I'm on a structure kick right now. Rosina Lippi had a perfectly timely entry on her Storytelling blog about documenting all the scenes in the novel she is currently working on, Queen of Swords. So I have set myself two projects to begin (and probably not finish) before the rugrats return this afternoon:
1) I will go through my Strange Animal manuscript and document all the scenes with the point of view and current or anticipated length. I'll be doing it on an Excel spreadsheet rather than fiddling with the formatting of my Word document (I'm pretty sure the way Lippi is doing it would facilitate moving back and forth from scene map to text more easily, but I've had some bad experiences with the formatting function in Word and don't want to spend a ton of time undoing autoformatting gone awry).
2) I will set myself some homework and document all the scenes in a model book, in this case Carol Shields' The Stone Diaries. I chose this book mainly because it follows a woman from before her birth to her death which is what I'm doing with Gert. Shields makes some wonderful surprising detours (like following Magnus Flett to the Orkney Islands--who saw that coming when his character first appeared in the novel?) which could have back fired into irrelevant digressions and instead help the story to transcend the anticipated linear structure. She never forgets that she is writing fiction, not biography, and thus these imaginative flights enhance her project.
Time to make more coffee and start some fun data entry.