I confess that I haven’t been writing much these past few weeks. I wrote the first quarter of my WIP and then started looking back on it and wondering if I had the right pieces in the right place. I’ve been floundering around in what spare time I have, trying to get all the parts in place for my first turning point. I only outlined a few chapters into the second part of the novel and have not given any thought as to just exactly how I was going to end it.
If you are a pantser (someone who writes by the seat of their pants, i.e. as they go along) you are probably saying so what? Just keep writing and it will all fall in place as you go. Well, not for me. I’m too anal I guess. I have to have a pretty decent outline before I can write. Otherwise I start wallowing in the mire and my productivity, as measured in word count, falls like mercury in an antarctic thermometer.
I started reading Larry Brooks’ latest book, Story Physics and re-reading his last book, Story Engineering (which is marked up and worn from use) in an effort to figure out the important elements of my story and get them into an outline form. From there, I can usually knock out a pretty decent story beat sheet or outline of each scene per chapter. This is where I’m at right now on The Rising. Thinking hard about plot and character arc and writing single sentence scene descriptions and then a chapter description that summarizes the action.
This novel has not been easy to get my mind around. It started off as just a short novella about a trial and has since been expanded into the second book in my Space Opera series. Now the original idea is but a central plot point, but there are many more things going on than just a trial. Many of the characters and situations that were explored in Starforgers are moved forward in this sequel. It’s not just another shoot ’em up Space Western. My main character has more change forced on her and she is getting older and accepting more responsibilities. Going from a Squadron Commander to a starship Captain in training. Not to mention still having to deal with the consequences of her actions in book one.
Then I have a cast of bad guy characters whom my hero would normally be fighting, but because the main plot line is more inward than outward looking, the hero doesn’t engage with the villains directly. But they still have to be plotting against the good guys, even though they are also looking more inward in their plot line. Typical Space Opera in many regards, but also a bit different in presentation.
I have just three books in each trilogy of the Star Saga to show my main character’s arc. So the reader can expect some change in every book. The hero changes, the bad guys change and so does the whole geopolitical environment. The whole story arc of the saga marches onward over time. I hope this results in a series that readers will enjoy reading and that won’t bore them. Only time will tell about that.
My current plans are to finish book 2 and then spend next year completing book three. After the first trilogy is complete, I plan on taking some time off to write a different novel. It might be SF, might be something completely different. But I need to get my mind off this series before coming back for the middle trilogy.