Plotting a Novel, Roughly

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So I spent an hour and a half yesterday morning roughing out a novel. Well, two thirds of one, anyway. It’s a story that’s been nibbling at the back of my brain now and then for about a year now and I’ve been content to let it nibble for the most part, though I’ve drafted a couple of the early scenes just to keep it under control while I tried to accomplish other things.

That stopped working yesterday. My brain has begun demanding that I find some way to get this story into a more complete form and out of my skull. I thought maybe if I sketched out a few more scenes and a character or two, that might do it for now and I could put my energy back into my Green Man story (which, as previously discussed, I know there is no way it’s going to get short enough to meet the guidelines, but it’s still a good story so I want to finish it) where it belongs.

Yeah, right.

90 minutes later, I had most of the main character’s primary story arc laid out, along with some smaller arcs for the other critically important characters. Throw in a few notes on political and magic systems, and the general state of the world, and I’ve got the frame work for a novel I wasn’t intending to write until 2014. Yes, the Three Year Plan (TM) is sketched out to that level of detail—I know the next six novel-length stories I want to write, or thought I did. Actually, I think I know further out than that, but I’m trying to keep things flexible.

But the voices in my head rise and fall and Alishra’s is pretty loud right now. I’d planned a lot of polishing and editing for the remainder of this year with a couple of short stories tossed into the mix for fun.

And yet.

I may have mentioned I’ve been studying story structure lately. This is still true. The internet is a huge and wondrous place filled with myriad bits of differing advice on what makes a story work and how to write one. Most of those bits of advice tend to note that your mileage may vary and you should find what works for you. I’ve been picking and choosing the pieces that make sense to me. Perhaps this is an opportunity for an experiment in fiction writing.

This does relate. Here’s what I’ve decided:

The Three Year Plan (TM) does not need to be adjusted at this time.

Only two things are directly embedded in it for December:

  1. The selection of stories for the first issue of Small Realities.
  2. Pre-writing for Tashiik Dreams.

These can both still be accomplished. The first is picking 30-ish thousand words of my favourite stories while the second should be doable sometime in December considering how fast I did a bunch of pre-work on a different novel this morning.

Dreams of Freedom gets the creative pole position

But only until the end of the year. Yes, as of right now, that’s only another 33 days (counting today), but that’s 33 days to potentially produce some serious wordage. I’ve had a light writing year for a bunch of reasons, but I can let the story have its run through the keyboard for a month to see what happens. Experiment with some of those bits of advice that work for me.

December 31st, if the rest of Dreams of Freedom is still desperate to pour out of my skull, I can always alter the plan. Some alternate universe version of me may already have.

Be well, everyone.

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