writing backwards

I read an article on plotting that I really agreed with, though it took me awhile to suss out what she meant by writing books backwards.

As time goes on and my skills with storytelling increase, I find I plot more and more. I've talked here about storyboarding and synopses. To date I've never finished a short story I haven't plotted out first. Plotting short stories taught me a lot about story arc and motivation. But where I really got more of a handle on plotting for longer lengths is the novella. It's a manageable length, written fairly quickly, but the plot arc is complicated enough to verge on a novel. I usually have at least two POVs in my novellas (QUENCHED had 4, if I recall, LOST PRINCE has 2.) So each character has their own goals and subplots. And yet, I can see the scenes laid out on a couple of pages. I generally synopsize, but I do it one graph per chapter.

This person advocates one page of outline for 4 pages of manuscript. Holy hell, it'd take me forever to write all that. And I do like to let a couple of things emerge as I write. I tend to be able to control them fairly readily, and it's just...fun. 

But the thing I agreed with most with in the article is that writers need to do more thinking ahead.

I used to be a pantzer. And I wrote long meandering tomes, just trying to find any glimmer of a plot. Interestingly, they still tended to follow the four act structure, at least after some wrestling. But I spent literally years writing SENTINEL: ARCHIVE OF FIRE. It's the first book I started, back when my baby girl was still an actual baby, and it was awful. Horrible.

Now my editor would prefer a sequel in six months. I'm also writing novellas while I write the novels. (I'm now certain there will be a sequel to LOST PRINCE.) I don't have years. I'll lose my audience in that time. So this week, hopefully, maybe even today, I'm going to turn in LOST PRINCE, and launch into the next SENTINEL book. I've got to write quickly, and try to get a lot of it through the crit group (not all, unfortunately.I won't have time).

I have a synopsis, but I'm wondering if I need to start breaking it down into chapters. I'll have four POVs, Aidan, Kaelin, Asmodai, who's our antagonist demon, and Lucy, the twins' sister. I'm torn on her, actually. She's a challenge to write, all good. But I also find her the least interesting of the characters. She almost seems more well rounded when viewed from the outside. And I do need the book to be shorter than the plot indicates. Hmm...

And see? Just like that, I know I'm not ready to start my book yet. I don't even know if Lucy should be a POV character or not! I really don't want to spend weeks writing her into the story, and then back out again, when I could spend a couple of days playing with my synopsis to see if her sections work with the story.

Anyway, all right. I'm off to revise and synopsize and write! What's on for your day?

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