So, after several months of pre-writing, I'm kicking off the writing of novel number two here at ACID cafe on Langstrasse. It's been a long journey of brainstorming and brainfarts, fits and starts, talking to experts and doing some lonely research. I'm doing things differently this time.
Take Your Shot began with the spark of an idea (What if a father was so ambitious he was willing to sacrifice his own son?) and an opportunity in NaNoWriMo. Then came a very simple outline featuring just the beginning, middle, and end scenes so I'd have something to write towards. That and the pressure of of a looming deadline was enough to drive me to 50,000+ words, but it was only barely enough – so little story was actually defined and I spent way too much time staring at my hands and struggling. What comes next? Why? No really, dumbass, why?
That struggle didn't go away, even through the third and fourth drafts. Turns out stories rarely define themselves, even the ones that need it most. The job got done in the end, but it left me feeling like such a hack. Hack, hack, hack, why isn't this working? Hack, hack, hack, why didn't I plan more thoroughly? Hack, hack, hack, FML. Etc. I vowed that next time would be different.
Welcome to next time! I started with the Snowflake Method, but found it a bit too tedious for my tastes. So I purloined the Snowflake mindset and wrote to a level of detail that felt right for me. I ended up with a concise description for each of my novel's ten scenes. The whole thing's been thought-through and gone-over by me, a writing buddy, and a real-life SWAT team member. It's evolved over several drafts, and I've never felt more prepared.
Like all writers, I have (digital) folders full of not-even-half-baked manuscripts that went nowhere because I didn't know where to take them ... but this time (I think) I know where to go, so I should be able to dive in and bust out this manuscript like a mad man. Here we go.