That’s kind of a misleading post title, really. I mean, the book has always had a plot, in the most generic sense. Like the first book, I knew where the story was going to end, and, since I have the second one complete, I know where the third has to start.
But it’s the middle bits that always get me.
I’ve been putting off sitting down and doing what, for me, is the hardest part of writing a story – the plotting. Where’s the story going to go, in broad strokes? Who lives and, more importantly for a zombie story, who dies?
Spoiler: LOTS OF PEOPLE.
This has always been the hardest part. Once I have this, it’s usually smooth sailing. Okay, sure, there are times when everything doesn’t go to plan, and I have to scrap whole swathes of the text because something absolutely must be changed because duh but more often than not, the plot doesn’t vary too much from my initial notes. Because they’re good notes, by and large.
Well, once I get them down, anyway.
I’m a part of the Houston Science Fiction / Fantasy Meetup, and last night was our monthly meeting. I really do my best to make each and every one of these meetups, for one of the most basic reasons of all – it keeps me writing. Being around other writers is one of the single best ways to motivate me to write. Because at the end of the day, it makes me realize that it’s not just me in my office, pecking away – or, more likely, avoiding anything that even remotely resembles writing – at this craft. It makes me realize that there are other equally crazy nutjobs out there who think that somehow, maybe, we can tell a story and entertain people.
I brought up this conundrum to the group, as something I’d been struggling with: do I write what I feel I have to write (The Dying of the Light: Beginning) or do I write what I’ve got surging through my creative noggin at the moment instead (in this case, Under a Cloud-Covered Moon). The overwhelming consensus was that I should write what I was passionate about right now rather than what I felt I owed my fans. I even talked to my editor about it, and she agreed that the fates seem to be telling me to write the other book.
So what did I do today? Plotted Beginning, and found that spark for the story that I’d been missing. Pages and pages of plotlines suddenly showed up, like they’d just been waiting there for me to get my head out of my ass and call on them. Now I’ve got a whopper of a story plotted out, with everything from ICBM’s and nuclear submarines to the deaths of thousands – and a few – to the hormonal rages of a teenage girl trying to figure out who she’s supposed to be amid the reconstruction of a world she never knew.
This will be fun to write. I think. Tomorrow starts the outline process, and I may give up this crazy profession five times between now and this time tomorrow. But I have a feeling that it’s going to be great, and that all my fans will love it, and I’ll finally have to say goodbye to these characters that have been with me since the beginning.
I can’t wait to get started.