I finished my first draft of the first book of my trilogy on January 28th, just over a week ago. My plan was to immediately start my outline of the next book and tear into it within days. I mean, I’ve been thinking about what comes next since I started plotting the first book. However, a funny thing happened to me on the way to my next outline… I realized that I have no idea what really happens.
My last manuscript went from being a proposed 80k to just under 50k when I was done. On the plus side, I now have a decent idea of what my scene averages really are so my math is going to be a lot closer this time. I also realized that the spreadsheet my love made me had wonky math since he’d accidently set it to add a different field than he should have. Math is NOT my strong point. Like, at all. So although it seemed weird that it was telling me I’d be done so soon, I ignored it because my writing pace seemed to match up as far as remaining scenes. And I did finish as predicted, just 30k words shorter than I should have. Oops. Got that sorted though so now I’ll have a better idea this time around.
Having learned so much about the way I write and the weaknesses I have from this first attempt, I had a really good idea of where I needed some improvement. And so began my efforts to wear out Google as I searched for everything I could find about 3 act story structure and subplots. I was drawing a complete blank on how subplots are generally written in a first person POV story. Now I have a better idea so hopefully I can use that information to weave one or two into I Wish.
It’s been hard to try to think of my story in terms of a 3 act structure. I thought that having a “formula” would make it easier because now I know what type of scene should come at what point in the story and I think after I do it a few times it will probably become second nature, but I’ve actually found it a little overwhelming because I have all these ideas swirling in my mind of what needs to happen, but I’m not really sure which scene would be the inciting incident or which should be the climax. I’m guessing my biggest problem is the inability to visualize the scenes in terms of their overall placement in the story frame. I know some authors use index cards and the floor to lay everything out. I have a cat, a dog, and a whole herd of children so I don’t think that would end well for me.
That’s about where I am at this stage. I’ve got a pretty good handle on the main events of the second book, less idea of the less pivotal scenes, and nearly all of the third book plotted. That last bit happened by accident, I swear. Somewhere along the line all the twists and conflicts seemed to end up resolved in book three and now I think I’ve got nearly enough worked out to finish it. I thought that I might write other books set in the world of this trilogy, but it wasn’t until I figured out how book 3 ends that I realized exactly what the fourth book will be about. At this point I think that I will write each book that follows as much as a stand alone as possible, but if inspiration strikes, I am open to changing that idea.
I hope, if I’m very lucky (and even busier) that I will finish my summary today and can start my outline tomorrow. Outlining I Wish took me two days for 30 scenes. I’m planning on 50-ish scenes for this one. It might take me three days or more. But I would like to start writing this week.