I was supposed to be editing after I got home from some meetings last night, but instead I looked up a few articles about plotting—and, more specifically, about plotting an ending—and then the end of SC (my big bad book) popped into my head.
“But Ivy,” you might say, “didn’t you finish the first draft of SC eight years ago? Doesn’t that mean you’ve already written the ending?”
Yes, I did finish the first draft of SC eight years ago, friend, thanks for remembering. Eight years ago, maybe even to the day although I don’t know for sure. Eight. Frickin’. Years. Ago.
However, the draft I wrote at age fifteen is a bit different from the SC I am working on now. For example:
- The book now starts earlier in the story.
- Three of the original five main characters no longer exist.
- One kid who originally first showed up in Book Two now shows up in the very first chapter.
- The setting has changed.
- Another kid who originally showed up in Book Two is now one of the subplots to the first book.
- Four less important characters are now more important.
- The timeline is accelerated.
- I’ve aged them all up a bit.
Amongst other things.
Anyway, the ending of what I’ve got now popped into my head, a sort of rough outline, and that was exciting. I developed it a bit and smoothed it out, and tried to write it down, except that I was still missing a chunk of the middle, so it was a bit difficult.
I had today off and planned to do what I’d put off yesterday, but then I woke up this morning with an entire story in my head. The entire sequel to the book whose ending I’d only thought up yesterday.
I had everything. Beginning to end, the entire novel, all the details and characters. As soon as I’d figured out how the first book would end, everything suddenly clicked I guess. But the thing about having a novel in your head is that there isn’t much space for anything else. And you’ve got to write it all down before it goes away.
It isn’t as easy to write down a novel floating in your head as you might think. The novel in your head, even if you have the entirety of it, doesn’t come in the form of a novel. It comes as floaty ideas that connect, and answers come to the top of your mind easily as you think up questions, and one thought leads to another which leads to another. You aren’t just writing while your brain dictates a story to you. You’re sorting, rewording, and organizing different wisps of an idea into something coherent.
I’m trying to explain this the best I can so that you aren’t super unimpressed when I tell you it took me around six or seven hours to write down the sequel plot in point form, taking up a total of two typed pages. Because I already knew about half of the first book, plus I’d had the ending from the other night, it took about three hours to write an additional two pages of point-form plot for the first book.
Of course, somewhere in there was also the time it took for me to have breakfast, drive to a Starbucks, decide it wasn’t good enough, drive to a different Starbucks, order a drink, get settled in an acceptable spot, plug my laptop in, create a playlist for the exact mood I needed, buy a song for the playlist, and update Twitter with my progress periodically.
And at the end of the day, I’m left with blueprints for two novels, a story I’ve been trying to tell for nine years, a plot I’m very happy with and excited to write. I got nothing else done today. Overall, it was a good day.