As an update, I’ve just finished Step Two of Rachel Aaron’s by now oft-mentioned Five Steps of Plotting a Novel. Step Two focus upon the three pillars of plot: Setting, Characters, and Plot.
The setting is a world I’ve already invested a lot of time building over several years, so it should be fairly well developed by now, I think. In the course of writing this novel, though, I’ll be focusing on adding details for the parts of the world that we’ll be visiting in this first novel, which should help to make the world even richer.
Characters are starting to be added. The central character, the primary villain, both are well fleshed-out by now. Several major characters are also getting some meat on their bones, so to speak. Just about everyone has a name that reflects who they are rather well. Most of the characters I’ve added are characters I’ve added because when I think of where plot needs to go, characters need to take it there, and since protagonists and antagonists don’t oppose each other in a vacuum, there are other characters who often move a plot is a certain direction just because of the personality they have and the decisions they make. So, when I need the plot to move forward it’s natural for me to think of the sort of characters who would move events in that direction, so every character I imagine comes to mind with certain aspects already filled in. They’ll get fleshed out more fully as the process goes along.
For plot, I have the basic plotting completely finished for the first novel. (It’s also about 95% finished for the second book and about 40% finished for the third.) Basic plotting is just the major events of the story, which is done. So, next it’s on to Step Three where I start to fill in the next level of detail. Now I’ll be taking the plot I’ve just written out and I’m going to start breaking it down, starting at the beginning with Chapter One, asking myself, “what happens?”. “How does the book start?” I need a hook, something to grab the attention of the reader right away, introducing the central character in a way that makes the reader say, “Whoa!” It won’t matter how great the rest of the novel is if the opening paragraphs don’t grab the reader by the hair and yank their face down onto the page. I don’t need to write that yet, but I need to help myself here by deciding right now what that situation will be at the very beginning of the story so that when I do write that first scene of the book I’ve got a great situation to work with.
I want to have this done through the first five chapters by Monday. Think I can do it? 🙂