Okay, it’s widely known I’m not a plotter. I’m a pantser. Mainly because I know my characters, we’re cool. What we’re going to do for 60K words…that is the hard part. Actually, that isn’t even the hard part. I thrive on inner conflict. I could internal plot you into the ground, but I fail at external plotting. Sad but true.
I have been trying to get into the swing of outlining so that I have set points to carry my randomness from Point A to Point B in a cohesive manner. It worked like a charm with Wicked. Granted, I had Jess’s brain on loan at the time. I won’t be capable of executing a book that tightly plotted again for a good long while on my own.
So anyway, my CP and I have been tossing ideas around for this new trilogy idea. Well, I toss and she swats them down. She read all the “me and Jess” workshop material and I think she might have absorbed it better than I did. I’m not jealous of that fact at all. *grumble*grumble*
Every time I come up with an idea, she asks, “Why?”
One day I’m tempted to say, “Because I am the author, and I said so!”
Okay, so maybe I wouldn’t take it that far. She’s giving up a huge amount of her time with no return on her investment to help me out of the goodness of her heart. And I want to improve my craft too much to be petulant for long. I kick my feet, imagine her rolling her eyes or online shoe shopping, then become a rational adult again and we press on.
Today’s convo went something like this:
H:My new hero is a dragon.
H:Because they’re freaking cool!
C:He needs a reason to be cool.
H:What? He’s a…and dragons are…well…
C:Yes, they are fantastic. Now what does being a dragon have to do with anything?
H: *considers drawing illustration*
(I mean, if she could see how COOL dragons are, she would understand I don’t need a reason, right?)
*decides I can’t use a stick dragon to illustrate my point and don’t know any artists awake at eleven pm and willing to freehand awesome dragon romance hero*
*goes back to plotting*
*has something almost resembling a thought*
(Turns out it was the TV playing in the next room.)
Then I give up and Cait goes to work.
The moral of the story? There is no magic pill or quick fix in writing. It takes time, thought, and skill to make things happen in a sequence your readers will enjoy and that furthers the book’s plot while propelling your series forward.
The hardest lesson I’ve had to learn is that it takes a village to write a book. Seriously, unless you’ve been writing for several years or you’re naturally gifted in that area–plot is hard. I am constantly frustrated with myself because I can’t plot a book on my own. If self-reliance were a requirement of this author thing, I’d pack up shop and sell my domain name tonight.
After several days worth of thought, I have a loose series arc worked out (largely thanks to Cait) and a good idea of how the first and second books will play out. I’m going to try and flesh out a few more details, but I am fundamentally flawed in the way I can’t tell how much is enough.
How big does my external conflict have to be? Must my characters wear skin-tight black leather? Does the world have to be ending or be in jeopardy just because I have paranormal creatures involved?
Oy. Only time and experience will tell.