Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Organic Plot.

"I think people who create and write, it actually does flow - just flows from into their head, into their hand, and they write it down.  It's simple."  --Paul McCartney

If only everything was that simple.  Or rather, if only it was that simple all the time.

So as I talked about in my last two entries, I'm hard at work on a new plot, a new story for Shiloh and Alexi.  Funny thing: it's been going ridiculously well.  Bizarrely so, in fact.  I keep waiting to sit down and have no idea what should happen next, or to look it all over and want to delete not only the entire file but everything I've ever written as well as the word processor I wrote it on.

But no.  I sit down, I pick up where I left off in the ever-growing planning document, and I keep going like I never stopped.  Most of the time, I know exactly what's going to happen next, and when I stop knowing that, I stop for the night and pick it up the next day, and boom, the same thing happens. Just tonight, I finished plotting the endgame, and I started off not knowing how it was all going to play out.  I went and lay down for less than a minute, and suddenly knew just what needed to happen to make everything work.

I'm not bragging, I swear.  I'm honestly not used to things going this easily.  It's like watching a tree grow over the space of minutes instead of years, being able to see where every single leaf and branch is going to sprout just a moment before it does, all while knowing exactly what the tree will look like once it's done.  And it boggles my mind that all this is coming out of my head.

It's a weird and wonderful thing, to feel like the story is just using me to see that it's told, like I'm just channeling this thing and along for the ride.  If this keeps happening when I actually sit down to write this book, I'll be grateful beyond words.

Side note to all this: the current plot is the second one I've come up with since ending work on Skyborne.  The first one I had also flowed well, and I loved it, but then I talked about it with Rena and she pointed out something important.  Apparently, having a main character seek out her real father is a plot better suited for middle grade, not YA.  (Have I mentioned that I'm really starting to loathe categories?  That's another entry.)  So based on that, I scrapped what I had and came up with something quite different.  This new plot is worlds better for everyone involved, myself included.

It's something I've long believed, but something I also have to be reminded of from time to time: never be afraid to make massive changes to your work.  It might turn out to be the best thing you could have done.

Alternate title for this entry: "Oh Crap This Story Is Pulling Itself Kicking And Screaming Out Of My Head"

Monday, April 1, 2013

Bringing up Old Stuff

I write everything down, and I never delete any of it.

Okay, that's not completely true.  But most ideas I have, I keep around, even if they've faded into that ambiguous slush of things I no longer want to write.  I never know when I'm going to need something I thought up weeks, months, or years ago.

And over the past few days, I've been digging up quite a bit.

As I talked about in my last entry, I'm moving on from Skyborne, but I'm still set on telling Shiloh and Alexi's story.  As I also talked about in my last entry, I've been telling stories with these two for a long time, so I have more plot notes about them than anyone else.  In search of this new plot, I started looking through older stuff, and found a few very useful things.

For instance, I found that the 'new' idea I had a few weeks ago was actually something I thought up back in 2009 and had forgotten about.  Go figure.  I've heard it's bad to rip yourself off, but hey, I don't think it counts as re-using an idea if I never actually wrote that book.  ^_^  I also found a ton of character notes, some of which are invalid for the new incarnations of the characters and some of which is still very, very valid and will make them more interesting when I start writing them.

It's weird to admit it to myself, but character matters so much in making a book worth reading, and Skyborne's lack of interesting history for the main characters left them as more blank slates than I realized when I was writing it.  I will fix that.

Also on my list of older stuff to reread?  An entire book, one I finished back in 2005, the last book I thought was worthy of being published.  Odds are good I'll go through it and cringe a lot.  But I realized last month that I can go back to it, turn it inside out, and rework it, make it the tale told by one of the villains.  I want to really delve into this person's head and see what it's like to serve a spirit who affects the world in warped attempts at change and blood-bound symbiotes.  And I want this would-be villain to be the one who breaks the world's one great pattern.

This year, I would like to write these two books.  Nine months is plenty of time for that, yeah?

oh gods what am I getting myself into