So it’s March 1, which means I’ve officially started Tempest’s Legacy, the third book in the Jane True series.
I say, “officially,” because I don’t have time at the moment to do more than start a folder, called Tempest’s Legacy, and start two files, one called “Tempest’s Legacy Brainstorm,” and one called “Tempest’s Legacy Outline.”
This is how I work. Â First I sit down and I brainstorm. Â I outline where the characters are “at” in their lives. Â This book is going to start one year after the close of Tracking the Tempest,Â which ends with many Big Bangs. Â And I don’t mean Big Bangs as a euphemism for sex. Â Or a sudden, and alarming, penchant for large ’80’s hair. Â I mean bangs, although some are, indeed, metaphorical. Â Sorry, I’m getting distracted.
Anyway, Tracking the Tempest ends with a series of big bangs, and a lot of things up in the air. Â So I could take the third book in a lot of different directions . . . If I hadn’t had the whole series nailed down to start with. Â That said, there’s still a lot of room to play with Jane and Co., and this book is going to be a bit different than the first two. Â The subject matter is darker, and Jane is, paradoxically, both more powerful – magically – than she’s been in the first two books, and more vulnerable – emotionally – than we’ve seen her before. Â I’m really putting Jane up against it, in this book. Â Which almost makes me feel bad. Â Almost. Â Until I remember how much I enjoyed beating her up in book two, and I acknowledge that little streak of sadism every writer must,Â inevitably,Â have. Â
Therefore, I will first do a big brainstorm, in which I define where the old characters are “at.” Â Then I devise some new characters, to mix things up. Â This is fun, and I’m going to try to integrate some new mythological creatures into every book. Â Then I start brainstorming the plot in two ways. Â First I outline the Big Plot Points. Â What is the BIG arc of this book? Â Then I start asking myself the questions I need to fill in that arc. Â For example, if I have Jane end up in Toronto, how does she get there? Â I’ll literally engage in a Socratic (if Socrates urban fantasized, which I bet he would have if he could have) dialogue with myself, on the page. Â Yes, I am apparently schizophrenic as well as sadistic. Â Why I live alone? Â Most probably.
So in the coming weeks I am going to be going through my process of writing, and I hope to take the readers of this blog (Hi, Mom!) with me. Â My process is certainly not everyone’s process, and it is, realistically, a very “academic” process. Â Although my process, as an academic, is not every academic’s process, either. Â But it is very organized, very outline-driven, and very OCD. Â
So drop me any questions you’d like answered about “my” process, or about the books, or about anything you’d like me to discuss in a comment. Â