Let's say I wake up at 3 AM and decide - this is it! I am going to write a book about a human raised by vampires! After basking in the glow of my brilliance (serious exaggeration), I decide to use my newfound energy and excitement to start planning.
Step one: Who is my protagonist?
- I know I've said it before, but I need someone who does NOT belong/thrive in this situation. In this case? How about a boy with hemophilia? A delicate boy, who is very scientifically oriented... Yes, I think that would do nicely. Let's call him Eugene for the purposes of this example.
Step Two: What is my plot?
- So I have a situation, but that's NOT a plot! What is going to be Eugene's problem he'll have to solve? And what will get in his way? Maybe His parents are framed for a crime by another vampire and he has to clear them. But to do that he has to come to terms with his disbelief of the supernatural and face his greatest fear - bloodletting.
- At this point I would try to write a one sentence pitch, followed by a summary, and finally the beat sheet from Save the Cat. That's all the outlining I do. And chances are a lot of it will change as I go, but at least I have a guideline to work with.
Step Three: Research!
- At this point I would research what other books are out there in this genre that might be good comp books. I might find out that *gasp* vampire books aren't selling well right now! In which case I might decide to change the whole vampire thing. But since this is just an example, we'll keep going.
- I'd also research any other real life issues associated with the book. I'd want to check out hemophilia for example to make sure I depict it accurately and without stereotypes.
Step Four: Other Notes
- I keep an extra file in Word with random notes I think of as I go. This might contain things like other character comments/ideas or world details. Maybe these vampires can go out during the day because of some of the scenes.
That's my process! What's yours? Other than more serious outlining, any big steps you'd recommend?