This is a bronze sculpture of Rodin’s The Thinker, which stands outside the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco.
Very appropriate for my post today since thinking is exactly what I’ve been doing this week. I’m about to start a new book. I have two series underway, and I’m tossing up which one to work on first. Beginnings and endings I have—for both stories. I even have titles, but the direction the stories will take in the middle? Ah, that’s the mystery.
The thinking stage is where I decide what my characters look like and what they want from life. I ponder about the conflict between the characters. I toss many and varied ideas into a pot inside my brain and percolate them, sometimes for months until I start writing. While I’m not a plotter, this part of my process helps me understand my characters and stories.
This time I’m trying something different. I’m attempting a method called Meet in the Middle where I work out 15 plot points for my story. Here’s a link to a post that explains Claudia Suzanne’s Meet in the Middle method of plotting. The resulting list of plot points is loose enough not to scare the pantser in me too much, but it will provide a framework so that I don’t stall because I’m not sure where to take my story. At least that’s the theory.
I’m also using the Manuscript app for iPad, recommended by author Brinda Berry. The index cards are very handy for my “thinking” notes, and it’s good not having to hunt for my notebook all the time. I have several and they all look the same. There’s a lesson to learn there, but it seems I’m a little slow!
Author Maria Zannini has a great post on style sheets. Although I doubt I’m ever going to be totally organized in this area, I am thinking about details a little more and the Manuscript app has proved helpful in keeping everything together.
My plan is to write one story in July and one story in August, writing as fast as I can. If anyone is interested in doing writing challenges, do shout out. I find working with other writers helps me focus and get words down on the page. June is set aside for editing two completed manuscripts. That’s the plan anyway. I figure if I write it down, I’ll make a fool of myself if I don’t follow through. September and October are for a holiday.
Writers: how do you go about starting a new book? Do you have a thinking period?
Readers: where do you do your best thinking?