Tempting Tuesday: The New Book Adrenaline Rush

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


We've all had it. That rush of excitement that ripples through us when we get a new idea. If you're like me, you whip out your phone or whatever is closest to make notes. And yes, I've used napkins before. I've also stolen my child's kids menu and crayons to get an idea down. Don't judge—it was a major break through for Light and Dark.

The biggest rush for me is plotting a new book. I'm still a partial panster, but I work out my characters, inciting incident, and end game ahead of time. With The Prophet, I decided to create a town, which is really exciting. The book takes place in southern Mississippi, on the border of Louisiana. Deep south Bible Belt country. I've created antebellum homes, a town map, town characters—all the nuances that are vital to making the book seem real. Starting from scratch means I can do whatever I want with the place (the town is named Roselea, by the way), and I'm loving it.


Of course, this means my brain is working overtime. I'm thinking about the book when I'm supposed to be sleeping. It's on my mind as I exercise and even when I'm playing with Grace. Does Roselea have everything it needs? How would city government be ran? Would there be a city sheriff or county? Would the area be big enough to have a detective? How many churches would the town have? What do they look like? And it goes on. It's tiring, but fun. Creating Roselea has helped me iron out the plot of The Prophet and its main characters. I understand their motivations now. I'm sure they'll change over the course of writing, but I've got a strong starting point. I already love Roselea. I can see its historical homes and tree-lined streets as easily as if I were standing in the town square.

With that image in mind, I wrote the first 1000 words of The Prophet yesterday. A small start, but a significant one. It's only uphill from here.

What about you? What's your favorite part of plotting? Have you ever created a town from scratch?


14 comments:

Kelly Hashway said...

I always use fictional places in my manuscripts. I'm afraid to use a real location and have people get critical of it. Plus I love the freedom of creating a fictional town. For my YA manuscript I'm working on, I plotted major things and some minor things that came to me (even bits of dialogue), but I left a big chunk in the middle with a very vague description because I knew I'd have to let my characters direct me through it at that point. Then we came together again at the end. It worked out really well and having that unexpected part kept my excitement up all the way through the draft.

Stacy said...

This is the first time I've used a fictional place. My first novel was set in Seattle, and Light and Dark is set in Vegas. Fun research, but there is that worry of getting something wrong.

I like your plotting technique. That's similar to what I'm doing with The Prophet. I have a section in Scrivener dedicated to plot ideas I know need to happen at some point.

Thanks, Kelly!

Jessica R. Patch said...

Ok, you're building a town near me! ha!

I love fleshing out my characters, coming up with my twist and how to hide it from the reader. I also love playing out dialogue in my head. Sometimes I'll start talking their conversations out.

Oh and names. I love naming my characters. :)

Stacy said...

Really, Jessica? Where are you at? Fleshing out characters is always fun. It's like getting to know a brand new person that belongs to only you.

Thanks!

Tressa Green said...

I've never really given much concern to detailing a specific place when writing, as most of my work is character-centric.

However, I had an idea for a story that's centered concretely in a small town. Specifically the small town I'm currently residing, though given a fictional name. If I ever get around to writing it, I'm going to have to do quite a lot of research and internalizing first.

Favorite part of plotting? Eavesdropping on character conversations, definitely. :)

Stacy said...

Tressa
Eavesdropping on characters is always fun. I have an idea that's centered around the small town I grew up in as well. Have several notes scattered here and there for it. We'll see if it ever gets written. Thanks for posting!

Angela Wallace said...

I used to draw maps for my fantasy worlds. I think I most enjoyed coming up with different, unique races.

Now that I write urban fantasy, I use real cities. I'm not sure what my favorite part is. Maybe plot twists, trying to come up with revelations that will surprise the reader.

jamilajamison said...

World-building is one of my favorite parts of writing. All of the stories that I'm working on require a fair amount of work, although with the current WIP, I get to draw on historical sources. With the other two, everything is totally made up, so they require a lot more work.

Outside of planning settings? I love listening to my characters. Most of the time they're the ones who are driving me to write - they're taskmasters about having their stories told!

Laura Pauling said...

I do love the rush of a new idea but I also love when the plotting is done and I can start writing. :)

Stacy said...

Angela
I've drawn a map of Roselea. It's the only way I could keep everything straight. Coming up with a unique races and cultures would be very fun. I love plot twists, too. Those are the "A-ha" moments we live for. Thanks!

Jamila
Historical sources are fun. I can get lost in research, lol. Then you get so much and have to figure out what you really need. Thanks!

Laura
Me too. Sometimes it's hard to let go of the plotting and to just start writing. The plotting is almost like a safety blanket, lol. Thanks!

catierhodes.com said...

My favorite part? Seeing what drama is going on in my characters' personal lives. I love reality shows, and I can't resist the urge to put some soap opera into my plots. It's cheesy, but I love it.

I also like figuring out the supernatural part. I have tried writing non-supernatural books. Totally dissatisfying, no matter how much I struggle over the supernatural parts.

Stacy said...

Catie
I love the drama, too. I grew up on soap operas so I guess that's why. I would love the supernatural part. That's so fascinating to me!

Julie Glover said...

My first novel - a mystery - is set in a fictitious town and county in East Texas. I did online research and drive-throughs to get a feel for small towns in the area, drew maps of certain parts of town, and had to think up names of businesses that might exist there. I still think I have to be careful to make a pretend place feel real to the reader, especially since the book is not a fantasy novel. I'm part-plotter/part-pantser myself, by the way.

Stacy said...

Julie
You do have to be careful that it feels real, but it sounds like you did all the right things. You're lucky to be close enough to drive through and get a real feel for the sights and sounds of the area. I wish I could do that.

Thanks!

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