Thursday, February 11, 2010

What's Next?

I’ve got one more book in the series I’ve been writing over the past few years. The cover will be blue. I know most of the characters. I know something of the events that will be taking place in town at the time of the story. I know some of the things that will happen. I used the previous book to setup part of the story. I just have one problem; I don’t know what the story is about.

With me knowing so much already, you would think I would be set. If I were like some authors, I might just start typing and see what happens, but I haven’t found that to be an effective way to work. If someone were to ask me about the story, I could say that Sara is the protagonist and that a movie is being filmed on the street in front of Ellen’s café. Kelly has a role in the movie. David and the other movie people from And Thy House are all there. Ellen has a contract to feed the cast and crew, so Sara has a good excuse to hang around the movie set. Kelly’s dad will be making an appearance. I may bring Neal home for the summer, and Kelly’s mother still has all of her problems. With Kelly’s dad in town and Kelly involved with it, she is not going to be a happy camper. But all of that is just setting and backstory. What I need is a premise that is suitable for a character of Sara’s caliber and one that will allow me to incorporate the storylines of the other characters.

It comes down to a question of what will happen in the first part of the second act, which in our Universal Outline is the fun and games section. What is it that Sara will be doing in her effort to accomplish whatever it is that she wants to accomplish? In Searching for Mom she was looking for a suitable mother through an online dating service. In For the Love of a Devil, Geoff was doing things that showed his love for Heather, even when she was much too affectionate with other men. So what goal can Sara try to accomplish in this next novel that is suitable for the situation? When I can answer that, I’ll have a story.