Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing something I haven’t done before. I’ve been plotting and planning my next book (or what might be my next book). Actually, it’s not a completely new experience. I’ve messed about with ideas, chapter summaries, little bits of action on strips of paper before, but only when I’m halfway through a book and have written myself into one heck of a pickle.
The difference this time is that I’m planning before I’ve written a word.
A few months ago, I didn’t have a clue what I’d write after the end of my Numbers trilogy. Now, joy of joy, I’ve got several ideas up my sleeve, one of which is emerging from the pack as favourite.
For the past week or three, I’ve been trying to work out (and write down) what the book is actually about. What happens and when? What do my characters learn and how do they change? I’ve got the bare bones of it now (printed out, cut into strips, arranged and re-arranged and pinned onto a board with lovely colourful pins which, by the way, I love almost as much as colourful paperclips, but that’s a whole different blog.)
But as I stare at the board, there’s something missing. The story is interesting. It disturbs me and upsets me. But the bare bones are so dry. And now I’m realising that what makes a book really engaging is the small touches, the little things your characters do or say which really ring true, which connect with you or shock you or move you to tears. So the next step is to try and find my characters, do a little test writing to see if I can make them come alive on the page. Can I make them real, vulnerable, complex and likeable? Wish me luck, because if I can’t, then maybe I need to go back to the drawing/pin board…
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