I’ve started plotting Book 3, Counterattack, of the Starforgers Trilogy in the Star Saga. Even as I await the feedback from my Beta Readers for Book 2, The Rising, I’m working on the next book. Such are the ways of the indie writer. Always moving forward, always creating new product.
This week I’ve managed to piece together a rudimentary story outline for Book 3. I do this in a single document by just throwing ideas onto it over time until I have enough items to begin constructing a story. This is the brain storming stage of a novel’s development. In this case, I’m writing the final book of a trilogy. I have to wrap up series plot lines and ensure the reader won’t wonder too much about what will happen to all the main characters. This trilogy is over and the next trilogy in the series will have a whole new cast of characters and will take place hundreds of years later.
This early plot driven story outline changes all the time. Ideas come and go as my brain works out the issues and pieces together things. Names change, plot threads are cut and restarted it’s very free flow and often makes no sense at all to anyone but me.
Below is a screenshot of this brain storming page in Plume Creator. (Warning, if you read this there are spoilers!)
After I get this document to the point where a plot emerges, I start a project in Plume Creator and begin to transfer the things that need to happen to the Chapter Synopsis area. Usually I can narrow the action down to three or four scenes worth of stuff that move the plot along. After the entire book is mapped out on a chapter level, I come back in and break out the individual scenes with a one or two sentence synopsis for each. I may also add some notes in each scene depending on what I need to focus on or develop.
This outlining process can take me a few weeks or months considering I usually devote only an hour a day to the task. If you are an outline writer then this process is familiar to you. This is one of my favorite parts of writing a novel because it’s the part where the whole story comes together. This initial outline may change as I start to write, but if I don’t have some kind of a road map I can easily get lost or stuck. Having this outline in place before writing saves me time and lets me focus on the words and writing.
Below is a screenshot from the Plume Workbench that shows my early outlining efforts for Counterattack.