I’m working on outlining a new story.
Well, I say ‘working on’ but the last couple of days have been exercises in cat-vacuuming. I’ve gotten a lot of the basics of character, worldbuilding, and theme down. I even had a sense of the ending, and the overall developing action. What I didn’t have was a plot to string all this together.
I mean, plot is hard for me. In this case it was even harder because I almost could have made a story out of meandering character development and world exploration, a sort of magic realism– and part of me wanted to. But the story is a direct sequel to a definite contemporary/urban fantasy, and I’ve read far too many complaints about sequels being incredibly different books from the original to want to tread that route by switching whole _subgenres_.
Plus, I know what a solid plot adds to a story: it adds action, it adds pacing, and it usually brings a whole bunch of secondary character definition and scene ideas. Without knowing my plot in advance, my characters would spend a lot of time in the kitchen drinking coffee.
Anyhow, backstory explained: [Copied from Google Plus.]
Well, at least I got almost six hours of sleep before getting smacked in the face with a (relevant) idea about how to solve my plot hangup and a third of a novel unfolded before my eyes.
(Well, I say ‘getting smacked in the face’ but it wasn’t the ‘wake up out of a sound sleep with the Muse standing over me with a shovel’ variety. I’d woken up naturally, was having trouble drifting off again, and started the Hour of the Wolf, in which I chew helplessly on the problems afflicting me. I hate the Hour of the Wolf. But in this case, almost as soon as I turned my attention to the issue, I asked myself the Right Question about it. And lost all ability to go back to sleep.)
And, as is starting to feel suspiciously ordinary, it is the kind of idea that seems like it might get me into… trouble.
Plus, it breaks about half the guidelines I set out for narrowing in on a plot.
So now here I am, listening to the sun rise, thinking about all the work I have to (get to?) do now. I’m pretty sure I’ll do about a fifth of it before realizing ‘oh no, this idea won’t work!’. That’s just the way these things go. And it _will_ work. With some, er, work.