I was going to try to come up with a parody of the nursery rhyme for this entry's title, but it seemed like a bit of a stretch, and I couldn't think of a truly suitable rhyme for "author". Aside from "bother", I mean. And I'll leave calling authors that for agents and publishers.
So! With the last book done, I'm back in the plotting trenches, tugging scenes and ideas and characters and locations out of my head and doing my damnedest to form them into something resembling a coherent story. I'm happy to report that it's going very well so far.
...yes, I'm writing this after today's plotting session, so as not to jinx myself.
I'm working on the plot for another Shiloh & Alexi novel, as I've talked about before. It's a new tale*, which means some re-imagining of both the characters and the world. I've been writing these two for a very long time, and setting stories in the world of Abraxas since 2007, but I always do the same character work for them as I would for new people. It's been interesting - developing new backstories for characters I've known for so long leads to discovering new aspects of their characters, and it's like meeting someone you haven't spoken to for several years and finding out that so much in their life has changed.
Very tempted to go into detail, but considering how much has changed already, it really wouldn't serve much purpose.
The plot itself, though, has changed a great deal from how I first conceived it. I'd originally thought of it as more of a continent-spanning adventure, something with a real Indiana Jones vibe, involving hunting down ancient artifacts. But as I worked out the backstories for the cast, familiar faces and new people alike, I started to see where they would all be at the start of the story. And that meant a very different kind of story.
There are times when I'm plotting when the tale itself seems less like something I'm making up and more like something that already exists, something I'm discovering along the way. It seems less like the plot's not going where I want it to and more like my original ideas of it were mistakes, so now I'm seeing what's really supposed to be there. I know how weird it sounds to have something I'm creating surprise me, because it's coming out of my head, isn't it? But that's how it goes.
And this is right up there with "compatible parts and fluids" in terms of how difficult it is to explain to people who aren't writers.
I did explain some of this to a non-writer a while ago, about how it can be difficult to know what's supposed to happen in a story and yet not know how it's all supposed to fit together. When the key elements include ancient artifacts, high society social events, dealings between merchant houses including both blackmail and an arranged marriage, and several different kinds of airship-based trouble, it gets difficult. But seeing it all fit together, and figuring out how to make it work? That's worth it all, every time.
The plot might be running away with me, but I'm not letting go of it until the story's told.
*For the curious, I did try to re-plot TAW with a better antagonist. I really did. But I realized that it wasn't what I wanted to do, right in the middle of a paragraph, and deleted those notes. I hope to return to the book's concepts of the warlock and all that someday, but I've shelved that specific story.