NaNo 2015: The Outline

Some of you may know that I am a Super-Outliner. I don’t ‘pants’ anything when it comes to writing. I fill up every inch of our white board several times.

Each time I outline, I do it a little different, being guided by revelations I’ve had about plotting. I love a story that builds well and develops characters in an interesting way, something I worked on a lot in THE VARKEN. For THE BLESSED, my outlining developed even further, but I started the process the same way I always do.

Three Act Structure. I love it.

With THE BLESSED I had a vague idea of where things started and where things ended. The beginning of Act I and the end of Act III. Because of how the conflict is sparked, I knew where Act I would end, but that left Act II and III largely ambiguous.

So I put on my thinking cap. “How am I going to get to that big finish? What makes sense?”Read More »

Relationships: Building Blocks

As I am editing The Varken, I am also eagerly preparing for The Blessed, the last and final Keeper book (for now). In fact, I’ve already written the Prologue and the first scene to set the tone for the novel, although I won’t start getting super serious about writing until NaNoWriMo starts in November and I’m done with my first round of edits for The Varken.

However, one thing that is different about my process for this novel, as opposed to what I have done before, is how I am developing the plot. I started with Signposts and my Three-Act-Structure that I love, but there was a lot to fill in. I knew where the story would start (10 years after The Varken, 15 years after The Keeper), and the basics of the direction I wanted the plot to head in with a vague idea for how things would end.

Rather than meticulously scrutinizing every aspect of how things COULD work out for the plot, I dove into developing my characters. I got the basics down: appearance, general personality, hopes, dreams, weaknesses, you know the drill. Knowing my characters better certainly helped me to understand what they would do in certain situations, but so much of The Blessed is based around characters reacting to other characters, rather than a position they are in or some situation out of their control. Everything is up for grabs.

So what I did, was I started a lovely folder for Relationships!Read More »

Talking To Myself

I recently came across a quote by the late Terry Pratchett that has really given me perspective for writing:

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Although I have always been in the “don’t rewrite anything until you finish!” camp, this really gave me some perspective on why this method is helpful (beyond ‘so you actually get through the whole story’).

I love this idea of telling myself the story.

Lately, I have been motivating myself by trying to get excited about my novel, and not just the overall concept or individual characters, but individual moments. I’m currently writing a scene where Hart tracks down a printer who has been spreading heresy, and before I write and as I write, I try to keep in mind the exciting things about the scene:

A new character, Master Hairan, to meet and discover, who has a past before this moment that effects his decisions and how others react to him.
A new invention, the printing press, to develop – in this world, what would it look like? How would it work? – and to be inspired by the trevithicks invented in “The Keeper” and continue in that vein of industrial revolution.
A new location, Bywell, to create – what makes this place different? what can this place teach us about Dorslien and Eviryia? – and explore with my characters.
A chance to play more with some minor characters, Vivica and Xandar, and develop them even further into real people and not simply warrior accessorize.
A set up for a big reveal: this scene and these characters are crucial to set up a huge revelation for Hart and the reader, that will not only advance the story but also grip at the reader’s heartstrings.

The more I think about the scene, and what I can do with it, and what makes it important, and what makes it exciting, the more I want to write it! At the core, this scene could be classified as ‘boring’ or an uninteresting necessity for the plot to continue, but if I think of it in those terms, the scene will read that way: boring, uninteresting, unimportant. But it’s not! I have discover for myself, and therefore for my reader, what makes this scene – and every scene – exciting!

Now I’m going to go finish writing it. Because it’s an important scene after all.

Here are some more of my favorite Terry Pratchett quotes to leave you with:Read More »