Day Two Of The Plotting

Whoa.  I had a great weekend, but I’m feeling it now.  It’s been six weeks since I’ve been able to work in the garden, so now my body is really complaining.  The yard, though, looks great, with about six more inches of rock on the front rock wall and tidy trimmed bushes.  I also put in some tulips for the first time in about twelve years.  I may have been a little aggressive in the bulb count, but there it is.  I really needed the break, and you know I was thinking about the Hollows while I had my face turned to the earth.

Friday was the second day of my plotting out of the next Hollows book, and still no words on the screen, but I’ve plenty of notes, so all you people taking part in NaNoWriMo, be assured that you are way ahead of me.  At this rate, I will be hard pressed to meet your 175 page count by the end of the month.  And I still have a few days of plotting before I can begin.  So what am I spending my time on?

Well . . .  I took my six pages of notes from Thursday and wrote up a free-flowing, one-sentence brainstorming list of “ways to start” and a list of  “ways to end.”  I still don’t have a good way to start the book, and I won’t until I have the end, but my goal is to have in the first five pages the hint of the problem that is settled in the last so to make a full circle.  I’m more successful at this some times than others, but if you break the stories apart, it’s there.  By the way, I found the ending by the time I turned my office light off.  Damn.  This is going to be a fun one to write.  As usual, Guy helped with finding the kicker. 

I then wrote out a handwritten, ten-page summary of the book, starting at the beginning and going all the way to the end, saying who died, who got jailed, and who got pregnant.  No, none of those things happened, but you get the idea.  Some might say it’s a waste of time, but I just saved myself three to six weeks of grief as I realized that my original three plots of demons, love, and crime were taking up too much page count and there were too many characters.  My solution?  Get rid of the demon story line for this book, much as I love it. (It will show up in the next book where it belongs)

After some thought, I realized that the story would work that much better with some new limitations that no-demons engenders.  Now I can expand on the other two story lines and bring in some secondary characters that I’d have had to skimp on.  I’m going to miss Al, but let’s hope it’s absence makes the heart grow fonder rather than out of sight, out of mind. . .   Today, I’ll rewrite my 10 page summary and maybe start on some more detailed chapter outlines to be sure I’ve not forgotten some bit of logic and to nail down the character lineup. 

Halloween contest is still open to submissions, so if you haven’t gotten around to taking your pictures out of your camera, you have time yet to send them to me.  Contest closes Friday, winners announced on Monday. 



Filed under Drama Box

40 responses to “Day Two Of The Plotting

  1. A.N.

    Hi Ms. Kim! How are you? Is everything good with you?
    I’m fine, sometimes I forget it, but we are always fine. (wink)
    Say “thank you” to Mr. Guy. His note made me smile, also a little guilty, but made me smile.
    WOW! This year the Halloween Contest is wonderful. Lots of participation and people have very creative costumes. The judge (grin) is going to have a hard time selecting the winner.
    Syfy is going to show a miniseries beginning on Sunday December 6. The name is “alice”, it looks good and it has Kathy Bates as the Queen of Hearts.
    Maybe you would like this video “Gift of a Friend” featured on Demi Lovato’s HERE WE GO AGAIN album. It is a song from “Tinker Bell and the lost treasure” movie.

    I like the song, I like the video (all the nature) and I’m thinking on buying the movie. It also made me think of something of your books; that in the beginning Rachel didn’t trust anybody. Something to do with an advice from her father. Are we going to know what “really” happened to her father and what is the roll of Trent’s father in it?
    You mentioned that Mr. Guy waited at night for what you wrote during the day and that remind me of something Ms. Hunter wrote in “Magical Words” about her guy. She said “Though he does offer to work through any sex scenes I might have write.”, uummm! No comments. (grin) I’m joookiiiing (don’t kill me).
    Another thing Ms.Hunter wrote was; “One of my writer friends admits to overuse of the word *just* which seems like a southernism to me, and odd for her, as she isn’t Southern, and doesn’t use it in her speech. *Really* is another word she scans for.” Are you that friend Ms. Hunter talks about?
    Thank you for all the insight in your process for writing the books. When you describe these little steps the process seems more tangible, not a big monster impossible to attack. I learn something, it is appreciated.
    Be Happy! A.N.

    • Hi, A.N! Good to hear from you again. I liked the pictures you send in, and you’re right–the judging is going to be difficult.

      As it happens, I’m the writer friend that Ms. Hunter was talking about when she brought up the “just and really” issue. Sigh

      Funny you should bring up the trust issue that Rachel has. It is really the theme of the entire series, and we will be seeing more of it.

      I’m so glad that you’re taking something from my posts of how I write. I hope it helps you. I love writing, and if I can share that feeling with someone who wants to write, I will feel like I’ve done something worthwhile.

      Thanks for the link! I’ll try to take a look.

  2. Marsha

    These are really fascinating looks at how your write. It explains to me why you are a great writer and I am a great reader…I really don’t have the discipline or energy, not to mention talent, to do what you do. My sense of order would tell me that you have to start at the beginning and go straight throught until you end it. I would have all kinds of contradictions and characters jumping in and out of nowhere. But, I’ll bet I’m much better at getting my butt kicked by judges and biting my tounge than you are : ) Oh, did your maples turn out gold or red?

    • Hi, Marsha. You can write exactly like you describe, and I know authors that do. It just doesn’t work for me.

      My big tree turned out a clear red, and the smaller one I was worried about was more of an orange. I like it!

  3. Gwendalla

    I am so envious of your climate. I would love nothing more than to go play in the dirt but that won’t be happening until May at the soonest. Maybe I’ll repot some indoor plants. I love reading about your writing process it’s absolutly fascinating! Writing has never been one of my skills so to see you and your other fans work through it is much more complex than I could have guessed. Good luck to everyone this month.

    • Hi, Gwendalla. I’m from Michigan, originally, so I’m here enjoying the weather 100%. That’s cool that you’re enjoying the writing process. Some people might feel that planning and plotting is a limit on ones imagination, but I’ve always felt that plotting is a great way to organize the imagination so that the options are easily seen.

  4. I could just imagine you sitting in your garden, viciously planting bulbs as the hollows turned and swirled in your mind. Gardening is good for the soul in a non demon smut kind of way. We did some gardening as well this weekend, we helped a friend in her garden as a birthday present. Not being fond of squatting on my knees and ankles I painted a wall. And painted a wall and painted a wall. but, i liked staring at it (even though i’m dodgy about green now). It gave me time to get my head and words in line.

    I bought my teal socks in Primark last year in scotland, lol. They were the only warm ones…

    NaNoWriMo status: Alyss beams and drags 15039 words into view. “Look!” she says. “Words and they are all mine! See, that one there’s ‘Death’ which I used once or twice. And, you can see all the ‘ands’ and ‘thens’ cluttering up the place. That one’s ‘Erinaceous’ which I discovered a few months ago and just had to work in there. And, that one’s ‘susurrus’ which is my favourite word in the English language and that one… that one’s not quite suitable for under aged viewing so I’ll hide it under ‘Dormant.’”

  5. Phil

    So i think i have this right… No Rachel-biting-Ivy in book ten?? 😦 That has to be one of your best teasers yet! Is there a chance you’d reconsider? Lol.

    Sounds like you’re having fun in the garden! Could there be a bit of pixy in you, Kim? 🙂

  6. NaNoWriMo word count: A bit over 15600. WOOHOO! It feels GREAT to be writing again 🙂

    I wish i had more time to plot out my story, but seeing as how I’m going to rewrite it after NaNo, I’m feeling ok with the crap that is coming out right now lol. Reading through the process you go through with your books, I think I might try my hand at plotting everything out when I go through a second time. I’ve never extensively plotted a book this much, so it’s an interesting process but I am LOVING it. I should have tried it earlier!


    • Congratulations, Candace! That’s a great total so far!

      Crap is good for NaNoWriMo, yes, but I have deadlines, so it’s plotting and planning for me. I hope you try the planning extensively method just once to see if it works for you. It takes a lot of stress out and once relaxed, the words seem to flow better. But that might just be me. 😉

  7. Stephenie

    Great minds think alike! I’m starting a chapter summary today for one of the other books that flutters around in my mind. I think I finally have a working plot line… rather than a beginning, an end, and a plot hole. If you ever decide to end the Hollows series (please don’t *bambi eyes*) you should publish a scrap book of all of the material that went in to writing them. I don’t think I’m the only person who would be interested to see how the books evolved in your mind to what we all get to enjoy. Of course that’s just me and wishful thinking. lol

  8. I was out of town for a few days and came to find the last three posts. Mind boggling indeed. There is something called “too much information”. Not that i’m complaining 🙂

    I’m with Lurker here, another no-demon book must be really exciting. One time you did this, we got a thorough look into werewolves, and the next we got introduced to banshees, who were a lot more frightening. What novelties are you thinking now, i wonder.

    Still though i must admit that you are a major tease. I almost fell off my chair when i read the “death-jail-pregnancy” trio. Even though you said it’s not real, i can’t help but think about the still un-materialized “Rachel biting Ivy” plan and the others you had for ODW. That list is total tease, honestly. And you are a cruel, ingenious, considerate author 🙂 Book 8 isn’t out yet and i am getting curious for book 10.

    • Hi, Ezgi.

      Yup, it’s a lot of info, and it’s going to get worse, but I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I write, and I can’t just give them a one paragraph answer when it’s a 20 page book. So here it is. 😉

      Book ten should be good. I’m looking forward to writing it. I want to see what happens.

  9. suzannelazear

    I haven’t been writing either, I’ve been editing and finishing other things first (tho I wrote a synopsis for a proposal over the weekend). Unfortunatly, i’ve discovered I made a boo boo and need to write 53k this month, oops. I am so not motivated, lol. But I need to get cracking. 🙂 Were’s that focus spray…

    ~Suzanne and the tot

  10. Lurker

    Absence does make the heart grow fonder for sure. Two thumbs up on another no-demon book. I almost stopped reading after book 2. Too much of one thing is never good for the whole (And Rachel general loses in the end any time a demon is a round anyway).

    Good thing I kept reading 🙂

    PS: I didn’t get a chance to post on your last post, but I wanted to say that there is something just… I dunno. Cool about your desk/office. A little old school with some modernality (is that a word? 🙂 ). Yes. I’m weird. hehe

  11. Antonio Rich

    I’ve been checking out the Halloween pics, and man, were they this good last year? There’s no comment section with the Halloween pictures, but my inner-pig would like to say “Hubba Hubba” we’ve got some good-looking people. I especially like Tracey and Shauna ( Zombie Queen, and Demon respectively) who are impressively scary and are apparently casual smokers as well. I’m picturing them huddled outside an office building on a smoke break commiserating. “…Yeah, my jerk boss wants me to head over to 5th and main and eat some tourist brains. I told him, ‘Hey, me and the baby are taking a 15-minute break, do you mind!?'”

    I’m disappointed no one dressed up as a spider.

    And, i know we’re not supposed to have favorites in the children’s section(they are ALL so cute), but i’ve fallen in love–


    Not only is it fun to say, but is there a cuter kid than that Elizabeth with those ridiculous goggles and that “shmoosh” on her cheeks?

  12. Dawn

    Kim, your insights on the process of writing are priceless to one who felt like everything had to be perfect before starting. Thank you so much!

    And I don’t see it as Al sitting out of this book so much as twisting up something really devious while we aren’t looking. In regards to Al; abscence makes the heart grow suspicious. : )

    • OMGosh, Dawn! I’m so glad that you realize that it doesn’t have to be perfect before starting. Even with all this planning and plotting, I’m going to have at least three surprises that I’m going to want to work into the manuscript, and it helps prevent writers block if you accept that your work can and will change, so don’t worry about the small stuff until you need to. My rough drafts are ugly, ugly, ugly.

      Absence makes the heart grow suspicious! I love it!

  13. Chrisy

    Heyho! It’s so funny reading about you plotting. Reminds me of me drawing… rough first drafts with chalk and stuff. I’m so curious about how you’re gonna fix things between Rache and Ivy…!
    Cheers! – Chrisy

  14. Yay, Kim. Sounds like you have it all worked out. 😀 I always wrote a summary of my book, but now I’m finding that I want to be more detailed and I’m going jot down some essential scenes for my current WIP.

    Thanks for sharing. 😉

  15. Thursday

    is there a set date for when BMS comes out? for USA?

    • Hi, Thursday.

      US release is February 23rd. If your bookstore has it, it should be out on that day. Most books are released on a Tuesday, but unless it has a drop date, it can be shelved any time that week.

  16. SeattleRobin

    NaNoWriMo update: Hit the 10K mark. Hope to be caught up to where I should be within three days.

    I have an outline and plot!

    I can’t believe how much I’m learning as I go. Various tips you’ve posted here, Kim, recently and in the past help. But there’s so much you have to learn on your own too. Like recognizing giant, gaping holes in character development. Heh.

    So now my major curosity is how many words on average do you write a day on your rough drafts? Or do you tend to think in page counts instead?

    • Congrats, Robin! You’re moving good! The outline and plot should keep you moving forward, but remember, it’s quanity, not quality for NaNoWriMo. (laugh) You are so right about having to learn on your own. No matter how many classes you take, you still have to practice!

      You asked how many words per day? I keep track of pages, and I can hit anywhere from 10 to 20 pages, but I average about 15 when I write rough draft.

  17. Shanda

    No Al??? Nooooooooooooooooo…….. We’ll still get some demons right?? 😛

    On another thought, sounds like the romance department is going to be picking up over the next few books. They got a Hurricane headed this way too. I feel like it’s a little too late in the season for Hurricanes. What about you Kim?

    • Hi, Shanda. No Al, I think. But more that that, I can not say. It’s too early.

      Mmmm, as I understand it, the hurricane season was kind of a dude this year, so perhaps it’s just running late. –Kim

  18. Kylie Ru

    Kim, I’m _always_ excited about a love interest.

    No Al? That saddens me, but if that is how it must be. . .

    Oh, I made pie yesterday! A pecan pie, and a chocolate pudding pie. They were tasty!

    I’d love to have a garden, but I can manage to kill bamboo. . .

    • Hi, Kylie. Mmm. I think Al slpped in, but we’ll see. Pie! I love cherry pie. My favorite. 😉 Maybe you just haven’t tried the right kind of garden? Caciti can be fun! (laugh)

  19. Paula C

    Wow- I gotta say, Kim Harrison, you rock the house! Not only am I so impressed with the plots and characters that come out of your imagination, but that you take the time to write a blog answering fans questions and whetting our appetites for the next book. I am really enjoying your insight as to how the book comes about (especially the part where you color code everything -you are a girl after my own OCD heart). So I just wanted to say thanks for a great series that I reread and count the days to the next release. cheers! Paula