And on the fifth day of plotting…

If I’m quiet, I’m working. 🙂 And I’ve been quiet! I should have a release date for AMERICAN DEMON for you soon But what’s on my desk is THE RULE. (followup to AMERICAN DEMON) Yep, I’m in full cry, chasing the next Hollows story. A reader recently asked about my plotting process, which has become fairly stable by now, though I admit that every book is built using different tools depending upon how much new magic/new characters/difficult themes/new techniques it has. But rather than tell you how I plot using AMERICA DEMON or THE RULE, and give away a lot of spoilers. (Pike. OMG. Pike.) I dipped back into my files and found a few posts from 2009 that pretty much encompass the process. You can go back a few posts from here to get to the first nitty gritty of how it starts, but today, I’m going to share a post where I’m at about day five in my plotting process. (In a new world/series, this would be about day ten.)

About the only difference between then and now is that I’ve begun using index cards with one sentence plot movement to help me place where certain information becomes known: the red herrings, actual clues to solving the crime, or knowledge of how to build the spell. I’ll have a stack maybe an inch thick when I’m done, divided up by chapters, which I then use to help me structure the one-page chapter synopses.  It helps when I’ve got two or more plot lines going because I can easily move realizations, discoveries, and new-skill attainment around before anything goes on paper.

So here is my original post from 2009, as I worked up THE OUTLAW DEMON WAILS.  I’ve got one more post to share after this concerning my plotting methods, but as always, everyone writes differently, and what works for me might not work for you. Just keep trying things. The only wrong way to write, is to not do it. Oh, and my chapter synopses always change when I begin writing. Always. If they didn’t, I’d get bored. Gotta follow the story where it leads! 

It’s about day five of the plotting/outlining stage of the next Hollows book, and I’ve got my 13 page synopsis broken into ten chapters so far.  Hopefully I’ll finish the chapter breakdown today, and can start on the actual writing tomorrow.  (whoo-hoo!  I’ve got to catch up with you guys doing the NaNoWriMo!)

So far, while using my character grid, I’ve found that I’ve got a slow spot, and I moved some things around to quicken it up.  I also named a new character, learned a few things about him, and Rachel has told me she likes him better than the guy I thought she’d be interested in.  He kind of likes her, too, or maybe he just likes the way she makes him feel.  (Be smart, Rachel.)  I’ve also learned what the story is about besides solving the crime and settling the love interest.  (By the way, it’s not settled.)  What I’m talking about here is the character growth, I suppose.  And without character growth, not only would the story be stale, but I’d be bored to tears writing it.

So today, I know what inner demon Rachel is going to slay this book–or at least come to terms with, and can work it in even at this early stage.  Previous demons?  Trust, adrenaline, her sexuality, independence.   That I’ve realized it this soon is good.  Sometimes I don’t see it until the end of the book, which goes to prove that I’m still learning my craft.  Thank all that is holy.



Filed under Drama Box

4 responses to “And on the fifth day of plotting…

  1. Thank you for sharing your process. Some of mine is outlining/plotting and some of it is flying by the seat of my pants! My work in progress was a 40-page outline/plot. I got a lot to cover and hopefully break it done to a novel idea!

  2. Sara J.

    Thank you for posting/reposting your plotting/writing methods! I have told my monthly critique group about them (and your books!) and the character grid with the date and what happens where with who was thought especially helpful!

    Also, I and my friends who read your work are super excited and looking forward to American Demon and The Rule! ^_^ Can’t wait! I was only recently given one of your Hollows books by a friend and just wrapped up all the shorts and The Turn a couple months ago, so from my perspective it seems like American Demon coming out next year is right on schedule! In the meantime I’ve read Perfunctory Affection (really good!) and I’m now beginning Drafter. I’m not too far along yet but I’m enjoying it. You’re a wonderful author!

    I don’t know how/when you plan your book release tours but if you are doing one for American Demon, I live near Portland, OR, and would love to come to a signing, so I’ll put in a vote for Portland! Have a wonderful day!

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