Brainstorming new Pendragon novel, more cover art, and progress on time travel

I’ve been quite busy this week. Not only am I still working on revisions on Chameleon in a Mirror, my Restoration time travel starring Aphra Behn, I have also started brainstorming a new novel in the Pendragon Chronicles, tentatively entitled A Wasted Land. I want to share with you the artwork I splurged and bought for the novel, by the incredibly talented Teresa Yeh:

A Wasted Land

Of course, researching, brainstorming and outlining is difficult to quantify, especially if you’re doing it on scrap paper, like I am. (I’ve never become a convert to index cards, as many people are.) But I do have about twenty pages of hand-written notes, questions I’ve asked myself using various plotting strategies. The one that has given me the most success for A Wasted Land so far has been Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat. With other projects, however, other structures and strategies have proved more successful. Sometimes it’s the hero’s journey, sometimes it’s character questions, sometimes it’s the research itself that will give me the plot. My strategy is to throw lots and lots of stuff at my idea and see what will stick.

Anyway, I now have a basic structure consisting of both an internal conflict plot and an external conflict plot. I’m certainly not ready to write yet, though (although I have started jotting down notes for scenes that occurred to me). But I still have to throw a bit more at it until I have a better handle on both the plot and the characters.

That’s taken up a lot of my time this week, but I’ve also been moving forward with Chameleon in a Mirror. I’m up to chapter 23 on the revisions. At this pace, I should be able to finish by the end of the week. I’ve become a total slacker on my actual publication projects, however. I have this list of things that are ready or almost ready to go up on Amazon, Smashwords and Draft2Digital — and I did none of them this week. I think next week I need to take another day off from writing for the business side of things.

Just out of curiosity, what kind of pre-writing do other people do — if at all?

9 thoughts on “Brainstorming new Pendragon novel, more cover art, and progress on time travel”

  1. That cover art is simply gorgeous! Worth whatever you paid for it! 🙂

    I don’t use any techniques for brainstorming. Weird, huh? I’ll just jot down a quick note in my Wonder Woman notebook whenever I think of something I want to add to my world/story. It’s not very organized, but somehow it seems to work for me.

    1. Thanks, Kate!

      I do plenty of idea jotting, but over the years I’ve realized that I need a certain amount of structure before I start writing, otherwise the danger is much higher that I will write myself into a dead end. *g*

  2. My pre-writing stuff comes into it’s own with the second draft … unless it’s a vital plot point that I have to clarify before the first draft can move forward – what would be the ramifications of having out ‘internet’ hardware tattooed into our skin … everywhere!

    1. I work like that sometimes too, but I find the more I pre-write, the faster I can get the first draft written, which is why I’m going more and more in that direction these days.

  3. I’m really glad I came by here! I’m a big proponent of pre-writing. What’s worked best for me is a combination of character (what do they want & why, background, etc.) and plot. The idea to try different things is a great one – maybe that will get me unstuck with my current WIP. That artwork will make a fantastic cover!

    1. Thanks, Jennette!

      For testing purposes on this novel, I have a whole stack of print-outs with different approaches, and I’m going through them, trying to figure out which questions actually inspire ideas. It’s quite interesting!

  4. Hello, just dropping by as part of ROW80.
    Interesting to hear your pre-plotting tasks. I used to write off-the-cuff, as it were, but once I started to storyboard my novels I found the writing process went faster. Now I prepare a storyboard, and draw charts if I have to see where the characters are at certain points in the story, and use Scrivener to hold it all together. My current WIP took two months to get to 80K but I spent at least a month putting it together, bit by bit.
    P.S. Your covers are lovely…

    1. Thanks, Lee! Yup, I really need a certain amount of planning in order to be able to write effectively. Haven’t quite figured out yet what exactly that is, but I think I’m getting there!

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