This week I’ve been hard at work in my writer’s notebook on Waking Muse #2, refining my story line via outline and brainstorming my key scenes. I also changed one or two things about my main characters, Jo the food writer and Ian the comeback chef.
My opening scenes with these two for the setup sequence turned out quite well, not to mention funny. I’m not certain where the funny came from, BTW. I hadn’t originally intended this book to be funny, but it seems my characters want to be amusing. Considering how emotionally devastating THE LADY TENNANT (Waking Muse #1) turned out, despite the HEA, my readers may find the second book in the series a welcome break from all the feels.
Don’t get me wrong: HEARTH & HOME is not light, airy fare, per se–it’s just my characters apparently decided to form an improv troupe behind my back and surpised my by dancing on stage in full, vivid form. The dialogue’s gotten rather away from me, I’m afraid. Waking Muse #2 opens with Jo regarding an ostentatious bouquet from her ex that is currently invading her desk and remembering how her brothers once duct-taped her prom date to a water tower (this is the Midwest–it happens). The first time readers meet Ian he’s giving a solemn pep talk to a lobster doomed for the cook pot in a scene I’ve dubbed “Dead Crustacean Scuttling.” The final scene, once again from Jo’s POV, involves “The Dancing Kinneys”, Jo’s older twin brothers of duct-tape infamy.
With the opening chapter tagged, bagged, and in Scrivener, I’m now focusing on my other key scenes. My ending scenes will need to resonate with the opening ones, which is why I book end them when I first starting working in my notebook. I’ll do the same with the Inciting Incident and Climax, and Plot Points 1 & 2–it’s the best way I know of getting a tight, logical plot structure, character arcs, and resonance.
In other news, I think I’ve figured out a solution to my cover art hitches for Waking Muse #1, which I hope to reveal in time for the pre-order announcement at the end of the month. Now I just need to get the titling right.
On to the Goals!
WAKING MUSE #2 (Drafting): Pay no attention to the word count in the sidebar–for some reason Scrivener is neglecting to give me a full document word count (I write in scenes), despite the fact that “Include In Compile” is switched on. I have also decided that my ending must, in some way, involve duct tape. Because everything needs duct tape. Also had an epiphany about Ian of Shakespearean bent, and I can’t wait to see if it pans out.
THE MINSTREL’S DAUGHTER (In Rewrites): I’m following my own advice and hacking my way though the first act with a machete at this point, rather than a scalpel. That’s how it usually goes for me: I have a forest on my hands, I hack a path through with a machete, followed by the surgical strike of the scalpel. I’m deep in the brush at this point, machete swinging.
KEEPERS #4 (In Revision): I confess: I’m not certain how readers are going to react to this one. I think they’ll like the characters, but the non-urban setting may throw some people off. It’s a bit out of my citified comfort zone, I like it–hopefully my readers will agree.
GAME PLEX #1 (In Development): I love the characters coming out of this one, but I’m still scratching my head a bit over the story. This book will be meant for the gaming geeks out there, and entirely for fun. I’m hoping readers will enjoy the adventure as much as they do recognizing gamers they “know”–or even themselves. I essentially have to come up with two separate plot lines–one for the game, and another for the story–until real life inevitably intrudes on the game. That’s where the resonance comes in–it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt–and I want the instrusion of real life to jar the readers as much as it does the characters.
How about you guys? Hacking through any forsests this week?