How I Write a Book, Part 2: Thinking Some More
So, last week I blogged about how my novel-writing process starts with months of thinking, and that usually the thinking starts with the main characters.
Once I have these two protagonists in my mind, even in very vague, shadowy form, what I start thinking of next are “moments”. I’m not sure why, but this seems to be how I plot a book. I don’t get big story trajectories coming to me in during all those long walks and hot showers, I get (what I’ve taken to calling) “moments”. Little scenes with the potential for great humor, drama, angst, suspense….or heat. 8) Some might call them the book’s turning points.
Anyway, these evolve in different ways. Sometimes I just have a vague idea for a situation, and other times whole swaths of dialog just pop into my mind. But they give me that “ooh, that would be soooo funny/sad/hot” feeling. My gut tells me, I just HAVE to put that scene in the book.
I start to mentally refer to these “moments” by little one- or two-word tags. For Goddess of the Hunt, for example, they might have been things like: orchard, wardrobe, letter, dinners, tears. Right now, for this new book, I’m working with moments like: hay, party, piano, symmetry. The moments are like a constellation of stars, and then the rest of the plot is a line connecting them. By the time I finish the book, that line may change a dozen times–but the stars are pretty permanent.
Once I have this vague notion of what will happen, I start to research. And I’ll blog about that next time.