This Is Why I Plot

My laptop is a haven for hauntings.

Unfinished stories linger like lost souls, whispering to me in the most tantalizing of voices, tempting me to disinter them and bring them to light.

Just in time for NaNoWriMo, I’ve been coaxed into breathing new life into an old book-in-progress.

I was torn at first. I’ve been editing my Reaper novel for months now and my initial intention was to just move forward with Book 2 in the series.

But another book…Book 2 of another series…started to sweet-talk me in the middle of the night.

It’s funny because Book 1 of what I call “The Mill” series was my very first foray into NaNoWriMo back in 2007 (holy crap…10 years ago!).

Forgetting what people say about finishing what you start, or that one’s first novel usually never sees the light of day. Or the pressure to get one series written and out to market…well, I’ve never been one to follow the rules. Not that I’m going to turn my nose up at good advice. But I’ve been writing so long now that I know when to ignore an idea and when to run with it.

So, it all sounds darkly romantic but like I said, it’s been almost 10 years since I even looked at this manuscript. I started the original version in 2008, but when our kitty Zoey died, I couldn’t concentrate long enough to finish writing the book.

Which means I have a lot of notes to go through; old chapter outlines and character sketches and plot points to wade through. New ideas that have started running through my mind that are begging to be included. I’m letting the book take me where it wants to go.

But this is why I’m glad I outline. I can go through my old Table of Contents (a trick I learned from First Draft in 30 Days) to get a quick look at what actually happens in the book (4 pages, to be exact).

I can read my Story Evolution Worksheet (again, from First Draft in 30 Days), which goes through the entire plot and boils it down to 12 pages from beginning to end. I’ve even got some notes from 2012 that I added to shore up the plot and better plant the seeds for Book 2 in Book 1.

Yes, a lot to read, but I thank Past Me for making these notes for Future Me.

So, that’s what I’ll be doing in the months leading up to NaNo (as well as revising the Reaper book and continuing to post to my new Patreon campaign).

If the inspiration is there (and we could debate about the notion of inspiration all day long…), I know it’s best to go where the ideas are. And they’re there. Rooted in a creepy small town, where dark things once hidden, just like my little book idea, whisper in hopes of being unearthed.

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