From idea to manuscript – Part 2

Thanks for coming back!

So, if you read my previous post, you know that this series of blog posts is going to track my process from idea to polished manuscript for my new WIP, EMILY. Yes, I know that’s a wack WIP title, but that’s genuinely where I am right now. Expect that to change at some point 🙂

There is about a week left in April, and I’m going to use that for Stage 1: Planning to Plot.
This could easily be considered part of the plotting stage, but I like to keep it separate. As I progress through a manuscript, the pressure to “get things right” builds. As you’re creating a plot that works, writing the draft, doing the initial edits, and then several rounds of revisions, it gets harder and harder to put the puzzle pieces together. I think this is especially true when you write mysteries and suspense.

The fun thing about the “Planning to Plot” stage is that you get to do/think/write/scribble ANYTHING. Of course, this freedom doesn’t disappear entirely when you’re in the later stages, but there’s endless freedom in this first one.
So, between now and May 1, I’ll be planning to plot. This means:
  • Sketching out the central mystery more clearly
  • Conceptualizing the main characters
  • Considering the story arc
  • Developing the inciting incident, main plot points and climax
I’ll be taking notes, but my favorite time to think about these questions is while driving, while in the shower, while washing dishes, etc. By May 1, the goal is to have most of the above loosely inked out, and I’ll be ready to begin the formal plotting process (which I love 🙂

OK! Thanks, and I’ll be back soon with the update.

From idea to manuscript – Part 1

I’m working on a new novel at the same time that I’m beginning to build my author site. I’m in the very beginning stages of both, and they are both huge priorities right now.
So…
I’ve decided to merge the goals and start a new real-time blog series about my writing process. I must be the first person to come up with this idea, ever. (No? Hmm…)
I’ll blog a couple of times per week about how I write, the ups and downs, the plotting, the planning, the yucky, the wine, the wHine, the character development, the chapter outlines, the word counts, the goals.
I’m very excited. Even if nobody else reads this, it’ll be my own little tool to hold myself accountable. But in the event that someone is reading and wants to join me, send me a note! We’ll do it together.
Alright, well…
No time like the present. A little about my writing style and where I am with my WIP:
1. I have had this idea for a couple of years now. It’s another upmarket domestic suspense novel, which seems to be where I call home these days. I fell in love with a character named EMILY, and that’s who the story is about. I won’t be talking too much about the story itself in these posts, but at the moment, I have a three sentence pitch about EMILY, an idea for the story’s central mystery, and… that’s about it.
2. I’m a HEAVY outliner. Pages. Handwritten pages at first, which turn into typed outlines, all with several notebooks of descriptions, questions, sketches, whatever.
3. I draft quickly and revise slowly.
So, armed with that knowledge about myself, guess I should get going. First, I’m going to set a deadline for the first complete draft. It won’t be clean by any means, but I’ve made a commitment to myself to no longer write super messy drafts. By “complete draft,” I mean the first draft that I would be OK letting anyone else look at (even though I probably won’t at that time). It’s the end of April now, so I’ll give myself three solid months. You do what works for your, shorter or longer. My deadline is:
July 31, 2015
Alright! In the next post, I’ll talk about the first step: Planning to plot.
Thanks for reading!