I wrote BLOOD TOY the third and final time by the seat of my pants. As often happens as a result of poor planning, eight chapters in, I had a collection of great scenes, half a dozen characters full of snark and venom, and no idea how to end the book. Just to get the story moving again, I wrote the wildest transition scene I could imagine. I had no intention of keeping it. None. It ended up being the climax of Book 1.
After that, I outlined the crap out of my ideas, which came as fast as I could jot them down for safekeeping. The last four chapters practically wrote themselves. Of course, I had written absolutely nothing in the seven preceding chapters to foreshadow any of it. My characters changed so much at the end, it was like I hooked Nitrous to their development arc and said ‘to hell with it’. To be clear, I’m all for surprising the reader, but there’s surprising…and then there’s hitting them in the face with a brick. What I had written was the brick.
So I went back and added scenes to foreshadow, scenes of character growth that would lead naturally, if still surprisingly, to their eventual conclusion. I made connections early on that would lay the groundwork for future alliances. I inserted conflicts that would pave the way to eventual carnage. Breadcrumbs. Those scenes–well planned afterthoughts–are my best. Every surprise is genuine–plausible, but unpredictable–because even I didn’t know about them until they happened. You would think I planned them that way.
I know, I know, I should know what’s going to happen before it does. I am the author. The way I wrote Book 1 was messy and crazy and required a big *ss knife and a crap-ton of sutures to mold into the smoking body of work It is now.
I meant to learn from my
mistakes experience writing Book 1 and do it better the second time around. Cleaner. More efficiently. So I did the outline. And I followed it dutifully. I wrote 10,000 words of crap. Its crap that I’m not worried about. It has potential and some decidedly not-crap moments. But yesterday I went off script.
I wrote about finding my muse after coming across this blog about hiking that inspired two characters and two new chapters. To be clear, Book 2 is not about hiking. And those cool new characters only have one scene–a few pages in the spotlight–at the moment, but they set some things in motion that are not in my outline.
I know. I know. I am supposed to be sticking to my outline. But…there’s just one thing. My outline is boring as @#*% compared to my new ideas.
I didn’t sleep a wink last night. Every half hour, just as I started dozing off, an idea came to me. Half an hour later, another. All night long my characters whispered dialogue in my ears. I awoke exhausted, but inspired for the first time since I started writing Book 2. Lucky for me, this happened on chapter 3 instead of 8 this time. I’ll probably revise my outline at some point, or maybe I’ll do it just a few chapters or even a few scenes at a time, but for now I’m just gonna write.