This is sort of a Status Update.
So I’m about halfway done with my outline, and I’ve done lots of brainstorming over the weekend. Â I discovered with my second book that I had to outline less pedantically than I did with my third. Â I am getting better at this whole writing thing, it appears. Â Either that or I am simply getting lazier. Â
I also discovered with Tracking that I do less erasing if I have a more skeletal outline that I continue filling in as I write. Â One of the things that people keep saying when I talk about my obsessive outlining (I’ll outline you if you sit still long enough) is that things end up changing, anyway, so why outline?
Which is very true, but also, for me and my intentions for my series, all the more reason to outline. Â I have a big series planned – six books in total – and I know where I want each of them to end up. Â There’s LOTS of small to medium-sized spaces for wiggle room, but the big stuff is sewn up already. Â And I don’t want to lose that. Â So I find that having the big stuff already in place (there’s four or five things that HAVE to happen in this book; doesn’t matter where, too much, and I’m only now figuring out how; but they HAVE to happen) helps me keep The Big Stuff in mind as I flesh out the rest.
And that’s the “rest” that is more malleable; that I’m able to play with. Â Which is where the “Socratic” dialogue comes in. Â It’s also where you start playing with the genre. Â After all, my UF is loosely based (right now) on the crime or mystery genre. Â This is the book where it shifts into something a bit different. Â But the first two books, and this one, are sort of “who/whydunnits.” Â So a lot of my questions to myself are about genre. Â “What would happen in a ‘normal’ crime drama to resolve this situation? Â How can I UF that? Â Would it work better if I didn’t? Â What might a reader expect? Â Should I give it to him or her, or should I upset their expectations?”
Another big change in this book is that Jane has very much been the Watson in the first two novels. Â She’s not the initiator, not the aggressor. Â She’s new to this world, and relatively weak in the first two books. Â We’re seeing a very different Jane in the third book. Â She’s been training and she’s feeling her magical oats. Â I need to make this transformation believable so I really need to get in Jane’s head. Â But it’s such a pleasureÂ to do so. Â The coolest/weirdest (and possibly more than a little crazy) thing that I’ve discovered about the writing process is how much I love my characters. Â Seriously, starting this new book feels like my good friends are suddenly back in town and we get to play. Â I enjoyÂ spending time with them. Â I want to know what they’ve been up to since I last talked to them (It’s been a whole year in their world!). Â I want to find out how they’re doing; how they’ve changed. Â I can’t wait to see what they do over the course of this next adventure. Â Because they do always surprise me. Â The ending of Tracking? Â NEVER saw it coming. Â And it rocks, btw. Â Even my editor was like, “OMG, I had no idea that was going to happen.” Â
So that’s where I’m at. Â I am outlining; but more comfortable with a more bare bones approach. Â I am SO EXCITED about this book, and the plot (at the moment) is coming along very easily. Â I’m also introducing some VERY exciting new ladyfriends in this book, who I hope you’ll see a LOT more of. Â A LOT more. Â They rock. Â
I also came up with a new goodie, who’s AWESOME and inspired by a “new” myth no less, as well as a new baddie, who is super creepie. Â Super. Â Creepie. Â
I think that’s about all that’s exciting. Â But I’ll keep ya’ll posted. Â Any questions? Â Just ask! Â Any comments? Â Fire away!