Sunday, August 21, 2011

So I Have This Idea...

I'm ready to start drafting another book. I'm putting away RADIO STATIONS ARE FOR LOSERS for the time being. It's not the right book for me at this moment. I never thought I would just put away an entire book so easily. It's 45,000 words, several months of my life, and some of the funniest lines I've ever written, but still, it's not right for me now.

I have revisions to do on MANHOLE. This will be my primary focus for the next few weeks. And then I'll get notes back on GESTAPO from my agent and will have to fix that one. But still, itching at the back of my brain is this new idea.

The problem with this new idea is that I don't know the plot. I know the characters. I know the premise. I have a great hook. I even think I have a pretty good moral. I just can't seem to figure out what happens, what is going to be the big problem. Part of the issue is that it has so much potential, that I'm not sure what way to go with it.

Now would be the time to do an outline, yes? Bah. I am not so great with the outlines. I think I'm just waiting for something (or someone, ahem, critique partners) to tell me what is going to happen.

Which brings me to NaNoWriMo---yes, I think I'm going to do it. I'm crazy. I never thought I would take it on, but November seems like a perfect month to try. Much will be off my plate by then (hopefully). And yes, I'm still planning the EPIC "I Love Dark YA" Blogfest in November, but that's only four Wednesdays. So I'm doing NaNoWriMo. (Yes, that's one novel in one month--eek).

What do you writers think? Do the characters and premise always go hand in hand with the plot? If they don't, where do your plot ideas come from? And who's with me in doing NaNoWriMo???

14 comments:

Kelley said...

I've had plot ideas come to me without characters. And I've never, ever finished a book that way. I HAVE to have solid characters to work off of before I can think of story/plot, because characters are what I love best.

If it makes you feel better, I'm a miserable failure at outlines. ;)

I finished NaNo one year, but I doubt I'll have time to tackle it this year. I WILL CHEER YOU ON, THOUGH.

Tiffany Garner said...

I will definitely be doing NaNoWriMo, and I already know which book I'm going to do it with.

To me, sometimes the characters and premise are way more important than the actual plot, because if you have them down the plot will fall into place naturally. And I almost never outline. The most important thing is not to force anything. I just started a YA paranormal that's in the same place as your idea--it has a ton of potential, but I have no idea how it's going to end. I'm just going to start writing and follow my characters as they discover the ending for me.

It doesn't always work, but it's definitely worth a shot. Best of luck!

Heather said...

This happened to me with my latest idea. The characters came on strong and the plot didn't, at first. I started doing research on the basic idea of the plot and started working on getting to know my character, then it all began to come to me. Give it time and play with it, it will reveal itself!

mooderino said...

I always think about doing Nano, and then chicken out. Maybe this year...

mood
Moody Writing
@mooderino

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

I don't Nano in November. Other months are better for me. :) But I miss the camaraderie. Oh well!

As you know, I am not much of an outliner, either. I was in the same pickle with a great premise with awesome characters, but I didn't have a plot. And then this morning I woke up and WHAM!-- it hit me. I think I have my plot. I told it to my husband and he thought it sounded crazy, but I think it might work. I'm going to give it a try, anyway, after this draft of my current WiP. We'll see if I can wait that long. Shiny new ideas are so tempting!!

Good luck with all your edits. I'm so excited for you, agented lady!

Amy

Monica B.W. said...

Ha! I usually wait for my hubby to tell me what's going to happen. But it never works as I'd hoped, lol! :)

erica and christy said...

I have one that I started quite a while ago and luckily was able to set to the side after the first chapter. It's a great, different idea. Darker than my usual with very defined characters. But they'll have legal trouble and medical trouble that I'll need not only expert opinions/research on but a way to get out of it that isn't completely beyond belief!

Good luck with everything! (and yes, you are crazy to do nano, but if you can do a really good outline ahead of time, I've heard that's the way to go)
erica

Tara Tyler said...

sometimes the story is character based, sometimes event/plot based. yours is obviously the first one. now you can show us the heart of your characters by what they do, say and how they respond. pick a place you know, put them there, have an extraordinary event and let them react and deal with it =)
hope that helps!

Stephanie said...

I really want to try NaNo this year, too! The timing's never been right with any of my manuscripts, and I'm not sure it will be this year (I wish November was in, say, two weeks. I could probably swing that). But I will cry if I let another year go by without at least trying.

The East Coaster said...

You know it happens! Sometimes my characters come to me first and I have to weave a story around them. With those, dialogue comes so easy and the entire writing is a breeze.

When the plot comes first, the first draft is full on narrative and I have to build in characters during the second draft, their backstories in the third and then their personalities.

And about Nano - welcome to the darkside.

AliyaPM said...

I think you should definitely go for NaNoWriMo! I tried it two years ago. Even though I didn't reach my goal I had a lot of fun with it! Every year for the past fours years I've considered it, but only actually did it that one time. I hope you do it!

Jessica Lei Silva said...

I want to do NaNo, too. I've never done it, although I have written 50k in a month. When November comes around I'm going to remember you and we're going to do it.

Alexis Bass Writes said...

I'll be @ NaNoWriMo too. 50 K per month is pretty much standard for me when drafting, but it's the only month when there are several other people to talk to about it. Good times. :)

carey farrell said...

nano! forward march started life as a nano book, and i'm probably gonna do *some*thing for nano this year, too. we should get together for some write-ins!