Oct 20, 2014

Outlining Time!

I've been starting to work on planning out my '14 NaNoWriMo novel Unexpected Inspiration: Sentinel, the second book in the series, and so far I have ideas for characters, a title, and a synopsis.

Here's the summary so far: The actions of Adair and his cohorts have earned them the notice of the Artisan council. After Adair is unexpectedly advanced to master creator rank, Etri Travellarri, a former thief and carnival performer, steps up to serve as his guard. Etri soon discovers that there are those who are unhappy with Adair's promotion ahead of older, more experienced creators- and some who are particularly outraged by his choice of Sentinel. When the other guards decide to do something about this, Etri is forced to use his magic and his wits to prove his worth, gaining himself an enemy who will stop at nothing in his quest for retribution.

Today I started my outline. I'm really glad I did this because... well, look:

I have no plot. Cue panic time. I have the entire first arc planned out complete with tiny details, but only because it directly connects to the events at the end of Colorweaver. Once the main story starts up, I have almost nothing. I'm very much a planner and can't finish anything if I don't have a full outline of at least major events, so this is something I will definitely have to sort out over the next two weeks.

It probably won't make much sense to anyone else, but right now my notes look like this:
-What is Etri's antagonist doing throughout the story? How is he trying to get revenge after he loses his rank, his psychic link, and his coordination?
-These mysterious beings who approve Etri into the role of Sentinel after giving him a strange test. Do the characters learn more about them? Do they find their crypt and figure out that they're essentially ghosts? How do these ghosts get their seeing-stone onto the cat's collar?
-What is it that the carny-thieves do that makes them different from regular thieves? What's their greater purpose? What does Sapphire do once she joins the cast?
-There's a fire elemental pulling the strings of all of my antagonists so far. How much do the characters learn about him/them/it in this book?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


And book one? Colorweaver got a lot more complicated, so that's where my attention has been this month when I should have been planning out the aforementioned sequel. I'd said in my previous post that I was going to remove some characters. That lasted all of about a month before I realized I needed my musician back. Cue scrambling to rebuild her plot and come up with a story and personality for her sister, one of the antagonists.

At least the redone outline for draft #2 is mostly complete. I still have to work out some kinks with the plot, but I think it's almost all there. So far I've done about 20k words in the rewrite.

I used different color post-it notes with this because it's a second draft. This time around I know which of the characters is narrating a specific scene, so I have those color coded by character. Multiple post-its in one spot mean I have multiple things going on at the same time. The plot runs from left to right, so the top row is the first arc, the first post-it is the prologue and the last is the epilogue. Keeping things color coded means I can see at a glance how many scenes/chapters each main character has and how spread out the scenes are. Adair's my main-main, so he has nine or ten, Blythe has eight or nine, and Drake (who comes into the story a bit later) has seven or eight. Post-its are great because you can easily move them around or remove them if you change the plot.

My main problem with this rewrite is fiddling with ages and genders. One of my main characters is agender, which I need to elaborate more on since Drake will be getting more scenes narrated from his/their (still working out a pronoun) point of view. I'm on the fence about changing Grandeau's gender since it really has no bearing on the story whatsoever and it would be nice to have another female character. Chantrell is staying the same gender, but I'm going to try aging her up a few years so she's about sixteen.

This update has been mostly to keep track of where I am with my writing. The next one will probably make more sense. I'm due for another "Dear Characters" post anyway. I haven't ranted at those dingbats in a while. ;)

~Meri