Hey, pssst, want to help me with an experiment?
I’ve been trying to finish a book for… well, we’ll ballpark it at “forever”. I’ve done outlines and sketches and maps and the roughest of rough drafts, but nothing complete and polished and (probably most importantly) publishable, and my skull is getting a little crowded at this point. Something’s gotta give—preferably not my sanity; I’m saving that for a special occasion.
On the other hand, I’ve also had a bunch of people write me asking for tips on plotting and characters and the ever-popular “where do you get your ideas?” I’ve tried writing blog posts to explain some of the alphabet-soup-in-a-blender that is my brain’s creative process, but that’s hard to keep going because there’s inevitably this awful feeling of “Why Am I Standing On A Soapbox How Did This Happen This Was A Terrible Idea MUST HIDE NOW.”
(I never claim that the way my brain works makes sense. It is what it is. *sigh*)
Here’s the experiment. I’m going to write a book, and I’m going to show you how to do it, too, from concept to plot to outline to the rough draft and, if all the assorted gods and goddesses of literature are with us, maybe even carry it all the way through and wind up with something publishable at the end.
And here’s the fun part – I want you to Write With Me!
I’ll explain each step, why it’s important, and show you how all the different parts fit together… because if there’s one thing I could study forever, it’s why certain stories are so popular. I love picking plots apart and seeing what makes them tick.
I’ll also introduce you to some of my favorite tools and resources along the way, possibly add in some more detailed articles about the nuts and bolts of word-craft, and maybe (definitely) spice it up with pictures of my cat, free of charge.
So… this isn’t a soapbox. (Hear that, brain? No soapboxes here!) This is more like me sitting at a table with my notebook open, and there are plenty of chairs and notebooks ready and waiting for anyone that wants to join in.
So have a seat. Get out a pen. Let’s write!
Cautionary Disclaimer the First: I focus mostly on fantasy/sci-fi commercial fiction, the kind with an Evil Being that must be Defeated so the Hero can achieve Happily Ever After. You know—Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, that kind of stuff. My methods may work for other kinds of fiction, but I’ve never tried it personally, so I don’t know how it would fit. You’re certainly welcome to take it for a test drive if you like!
Cautionary Disclaimer the Second: Pantsers beware. The entire goal of my system is to create a detailed outline of interwoven plotlines that can then be expanded into a full draft. I like to think of outlining as pantsing in a very efficient way, with customizable bullet points, before you get weighed down by 50,000+ words, but your mileage may vary. Fair warning!
(Plotters… you’re going to love this.)