Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How I Plot a Book

Posted by: R.L. Naquin
No lake monster sightings. Yet.
Due to circumstances both in my head and in my environment, the finale of my Muse trilogy has been ridiculously delayed. But a miracle occurred a little over a week ago. I finished it. Finally. It’ll be out in May. (Guess what I’ll be talking about here next time!) Time to move on to the next project – book two of the Djinn Haven series, To Seize a Wayward Spirit.

So, here I am at the beginning again. The beginning is glorious! The beginning is exciting!

The beginning is terrifying.

I am a hardcore plotter. I cannot possibly begin a book without knowing all the plotlines, how they fit together, how the relationships of the main characters will change and grow, the first line, the first scene, and how it ends. (I’m sure the pantser folks are rolling their eyes right about now.)

The turnaround on this book is tight. I have to have it to my editor mid-July. No problem. But I’m also considering a novella project that would have to be finished by around the same time. Now it’s getting tricky.

I’ve allowed myself two weeks to sort out the plots of both projects. If I can’t get solid outlines for both, I’m dropping the novella (which isn’t contracted.) So, a week and a half into those two weeks, here’s how it’s going:

Mickey is my friend. He knows how to distract me.

  1. In a sudden belief that my work isn’t dark enough, I’ve grown a fondness for the television show “Snapped.” Wow. You never know who might go off the deep end and chop up her husband so she can burn the parts at someone else’s house. 
  2. I started taking a new swimming class. It combines “elements of yoga and tai chi.” I took this to mean there would be no cardio. Lies. All lies. 
  3. Visited two separate lakes yesterday because driving helps me think and water relaxes me. Have you tried the new Bistro Boxes from Starbucks? They’re pretty good. Make sure you add a cakepop to cancel out your healthy choice.
  4. Halfway to the lake, the first scene appeared in my head, word for word. I did not have a recording device handy. I could not write it down because I was driving. 
  5. Oh, my gosh. We really need to go to the comic book convention later this month. It’s crucial to my storyline! My husband was totally cool with this.
  6. Hey! I haven’t started building my LEGO Cinderella Castle yet. I promised myself I could build it once the book was finished. This is going to take awhile. The first four stages took most of Saturday. There are fourteen stages. 
  7. I cannot believe the laundry is caught up. That’s so weird.
  8. I have come to the conclusion that writing darker fiction wouldn’t suit my brand. I’m trying to write True Blood when my style is more like a supernatural version of Psych. Stick with what’s working.
  9. Well, crap. My cover artist is booked until August. If I’m going to write this novella, it’ll cost extra to rush the cover.
  10. Paused what we were watching on television last night to talk through my plot with my husband. He helped fix the problems I was having. Looks like I might have the plot figured out. Wait. Wait. I need to write a blog post for Here Be Magic first. 

 So, there you go. You might think I could sit down and whip up an outline out of thin air, but my brain isn’t focused enough for that. Still, I think I’ve got the whole story worked out for Djinn Haven #2. As for the novella, I think Extinguished Cupid might be a go after all. A male cupid who doesn’t believe in love?

 I think can handle him.

Rachel writes stories that drop average people into magical situations filled with heart and quirky humor.

She believes in pixie dust, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks and putting things off until the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas. Rachel has one husband, two grown kids and a crazy-catlady starter kit.

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