Well, the good news is that I am officially finished with the rough draft of Heir of Rosings Park. What leads to other good news, now I am about to start work on Netherfield: Rogue Dragon.
But what is good news without bad? Really, you knew this was coming, right? So the bad news is that it looks like Netherfield is going to get pretty complicated, enough to make my brain hurt.
When I stared at it really hard and turned my head just so, squinting at the right angle, I realized there were like six different plotlines that needed to get tied up in this story. The main one, of course, then at least five other lines that needed to be answered.
Luckily my sons were available to restrain me from running off, screaming into the night.
What was I thinking leaving that many lose threads? (And if you think there are more, please don’t tell me, at least not right now. I’m not sure I could take it.)
Why is this such a big deal? It’s not like I haven’t written other books, right? Why does this have me worked up in knots my boy scout husband can’t unravel?
It comes down to writing style. In writing there are two primary ways to craft a story, the first is plotting. I admire these writers to no end. I want to be one of those writers! With spreadsheets and timelines and mind maps that put everything together. They know every twist and turn as they write, no stone is left unturned. They are in control, knowing everything scene they are going to write and where it fits in the story.
I want to be like those writers.
The rest of us kind of fly by the seat of our pants, winging it as we go. We start with little idea of the final direction and sometimes succumb to a mutiny where the characters hijack the plot and take the book somewhere we didn’t expect to go. That’s how I write just about everything. As soon as I put together an outline, my characters go on strike and won’t get back to work until I burn the thing.
It makes me crazy, truth be told because I’m totally organized in everything else I do. My spice cabinet is alphabetized. I labeled my pantry shelves when the kids were little so they could put things away right. I kid you not, my closet is arranged in color order by the light spectrum–rainbow order. I just think that way.
But when it comes to writing, it’s got to flow organically. And that’s why I’m in trouble right now. In order to wrap up all these loose threads, I’m pretty sure I need to keep tabs on them all and make sure they tie up nice and neat, not in an ugly tangle.
So what’s a gal to do? Anything that looks too much like an outline and the poor book isn’t going to happen at all, so I’d better stay well away from that. Sounds like a job for … colorful office supplies.
That’s right, out come the post-it notes in all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes. Add to that my snazzy black science fair foam-core board and I had flashbacks to my kid’s science fair projects… no wait, that’s not what I meant … well, yes I did, but after they picked me up from huddling under the table, I was inspired.
Colors for each plot line, shapes for the important plot milestones, and I went to town.
Look Ma–a literal storyboard!
Yep, it’s a thing of beauty for sure. With any luck here, it’s giving me a good visual of how it all comes together, without scaring off my poor characters. I’ve already got a rough dragon to deal with. I don’t need anyone else staging a coup on me, right?
So wish me luck, guys, I’m diving in! Hopefully you’ll be hearing more soon, in the form of chapters posting on the site. But you never know, for here there be dragons–right?