At 5:10am I found myself awake, with phone in hand, tapping out a note while my Other Half snoozed happily away beside me.
Nope, not an illicit text to my oddly-named and entirely imaginary mistress, Raspberry.
The outline for the start of Novel Number 3! Let’s ignore, for now, the fact that I haven’t yet finished editing Novel Number 1 and already have an outline for the start of Novel Number 2.
Nothing quite like setting yourself a challenge is there?!
Like Martin Luther King, I had a dream. This one had nothing to do with equal rights or freedom or any of those important things though. What it had in their place was suspense. I dreamt a scene so vivid and so compelling that when I woke I was desperate to know what happened next. It was like watching the start of a film only to have your Sky box blow up after the first 3 minutes.
“How?” I thought. “How do I find out what happens next?” (That was after I thought “What the hell am I doing awake at 5:10am?” and “Bleeeecchhh”, which is generally my first conscious thought of the day.)
I knew there and then that the only way to find out what happened would be to write the thing. So I scrawled down the events of the dream, as best my groggy fingers would allow, hoping to bottle the sensations and emotions for future use. I think I succeeded, because it’s still with me and I still want to find out what happens.
And you know what? This one is going to push me to a place I’ve never been. The Land Of Planning.
The back-story to the dramatic opening will come from a cast of characters unveiling their pasts and their connections with the lead character. Some will be reflective, looking back from now; some will be in flashback, taking the reader back to the time when the events occur. And there’s no way that’s all going to happen unless I have a detailed plan of what happens when, to whom, why, how and what their connection is to the opening scene – especially as many of those connections will be intentionally vague and possibly mis-leading.
For someone who, so far, has jumped straight into the middle of a story and fought his way out like a ferret in a sack, that’s a mightily daunting prospect.
Wish me luck dear readers. Of course, there’s the infamous First Novel to complete first and the tentative Second. I feel like Beethoven (the composer, not the dog).
So – how do you go about planning? Some of you must surely be planners and plotters who work it all out in advance. Any tips? Any advice? Halp!