I've begun planning my next book.
This is new. This "planning" thing. Usually I just set off writing a story and see where it leads.
I don't know what is going to happen with this new method. Maybe it won't work, but I figure I have to try. I need some kind of leap in quality.
I see book writing as coming in three stages.
Stage 1: The planning and plotting and outlining.
Stage 2: The actual writing.
Stage 3: Re-writing.
Stage 1: On a scale of 1 to 10, I feel like I'm only at a 2 or 3 in terms of planning.
Stage 2: I'm doing pretty well on the actual process of writing -- maybe a 7.
Stage 3: I'm struggling to be patient with my re-writing, but still at only a 4 or 5.
So the most obvious area of improvement is Stage 1.
So what can I do?
Find a sturdy premise, one that will hold the weight of the story. That has some thematic possibilities. That is logical and interesting. But most of all, that allows the characters to become real and become the drivers of the plot.
Behind that, I'd like to have a good solid history and geography and so on. (If I use real locations or historical incidents, I need to research.)
Strong, well fleshed and deep characters.
A plot that isn't too predictable, and keeps the surprises coming.
So that's what I'm going to be doing over the next weeks and months -- planning as much as possible before I actually sit down and write.
5 days ago