Now, with that obligatory declaration out of the way, an update:
Still pounding away here. That's been my fortunate reaction to a longer-than-expected wait for Simon & Schuster's editorial note on Dissident. Rather than twiddling my thumbs, I'm working (till my fingers bleed, if I'm going to extend the digit metaphor) on another, unrelated thriller for teens. Now, ironically enough, rather than aching for the much anticipated editorial letter, I'm hoping it doesn't arrive until I've finished this new book!
I'm really loving my WIP (that's writer-acronym-speak for "work-in-progress"), Paint It Black, a fun story -- and one I hope will trigger another series. In a perfect world, I'll write both series, staggering release dates. Toward that end, I'm barely blogging, answering emails, reading for pleasure, etc..., but I am writing and exercising and happy.
I've rewritten the beginning of Paint It Black and have six consecutive chapters finished that feel right. Beyond that, I have around 50,000 words of scenes and another 60,000 words of planning / journaling about the book. I’ve also been doing a lot research, all of it fascinating. This morning, I finished a non-fiction book, ordered two more, and compiled a list of fifty-some questions as the basis for an interview, for when I contact a local expert. Should be a blast.
With Paint It Black, I'm paying close attention to structure, doing various kinds of outlines, including one exhaustive version on butcher paper, which breaks everything down into acts, sequences, and scenes, and then identifies the setting, purpose, goal, motivation, conflict, and changes resulting from each scene. A similar approach helped a lot with Dissident, saving me time, sparing me waste, and resulting in a stronger story. I'm loving it this time, too, and I've started exhaustive outline version 2.0, which I'm parceling together as I rewrite the book. Fun work.
One of my favorite things about outlining is that it frees me to write the story both recklessly and in layers, zipping through without worrying overmuch about getting everything right the first time. Then I go back through, adding stuff, making moments matter more, heightening, trimming, and paying pointed attention to specific aspects, like setting, emotion, conflict, character development, etc... This is all a huge departure from my old seat-of-the-pants days, and the switch took both faith and loads of "getting used to," but I'm so glad to have discovered this process. It's great fun, and I'm excited about the work it's producing.
Enough about me. How are you? I hope you’re all giddily, excruciatingly busy. What are you up to? When you write, what's your process? Do you outline or fly by the seat of your pants?