|This is me, plotting...|
And then she'll sell the hell out of it.
That's the plan.
I love it, and have high hopes for my little story about the coach of a synchronized swimming team who falls in love with a handsome trumpet player. The thing I liked best about working on it was digging into the 1950s. Once I got beyond the "Happy Days" clichés, I learned a lot of really cool stuff.
But that's not what this post is about. This is about what happens next. I set a goal of writing two novels this year, and a couple of novellas, and when I finished Aqua Follies I was really, really, really eager to put down my editing toolkit and just plain write.
Eager, but uncertain. I wasn't sure what direction to head. I blogged about that uncertainty HERE in my Spellbound Scribes post this month. I knew I wanted to work on something that reflected the diversity I see in real life, and I suspected it would have another historical setting. I also wanted to do another m/m romance.
I'm so excited about the idea I came up with I can barely stand it. It's a two novel set, and the working titles are The Lyric Assassin & The Clockwork Monk. The first book is about Emma who's, well, a lyric soprano, and also a spy. She idolizes her older brother Trevor, and he plays a key role in this story. In the sequel, their roles will reverse. He'll be the POV character, and she'll be a main player.
As soon as I finished dancing with glee for having come up with this concept, a funny thing happened. I wrote a few pages, just letting Emma speak, but I couldn't go any further until I had a better handle on the plot. Part of the reason may be that since the threads are going to wind from one book to the next, I needed to lay as much out as possible before I could really get started.
I spent the end of last week and all weekend brainstorming, and by Sunday afternoon - while the Seahawks were driving us all crazy - I'd hammered out a beat sheet for Emma's book. Even better, by using the template in Blake Snyder's Save the Cat, I'd been able to figure out how many pages, scenes, and word count each section should have.
Like, I know where I'm going. I'm not crazy like a cat behind the wheel of a car.
This will be my fifth full-length novel, and maybe that has something to do with it. Like many writers I tend to struggle with the middle. The set up is easy, and I know how I want it to end, but figuring out how to get from A to B can be a crap shoot. The coolest thing about developing the beat sheet was making a list of all kinds of possibilities for how to cover the big middle sections. I know I'm going to need X number of scenes, which will take X number of words, and the hero and the heroine have to buzz around each other while her brother's causing trouble and bombs are going off.
Oh hell yeah. It's gonna be fun.
Now I now some of you make THIS face when people talk about plotting...
But I'll tell you what. This is the best I've felt at the start of a project. Things may still turn to worms, and for sure some of my brilliant inspiration will end up in the discard pile, For now, though, I am ready to write.
So where do you fall on the plotter-to-pantser spectrum? Would a beat sheet give you hives, or do you write a synopsis of every chapter before you start?
Inquiring minds & all...