Armed with the three act structure and a detailed character profile template, I started planning my fifth novel on May 28. According to Word, I spent more than 120 hours mapping out the story, developing the characters, and fine-tuning my outline.
After incorporating character information into my outline and fixing a problem with stakes and tension, the first act was six chapters too long. Three turned out to be unnecessary and anything of importance in the rest was easy to squeeze in elsewhere. I went over my outline one last time to tweak a few things, switch stuff around, and add notes about dropping hints, revealing clues, and foreshadowing.
On Saturday June 10th, I started writing what I’m tentatively calling The Gilded Lily. Mostly I stared at the screen and pondered my next words. Beginnings are always hard. When I stopped on Sunday, I’d cranked out a disappointing 460 words.
I set it aside for a week. After reading through my outline again to refresh my memory, the problem leaped off the page. The fix was easily made and I was good to go. Having the character profiles and outline made a difference. When I closed my laptop Sunday afternoon (June 18), I’d written a very satisfying 2000 words and finished the first chapter.
As of this morning (July 10), I’ve added another 12,000 words and finished the first eight chapters — almost to the end of Act One. Lots of details have changed from what was in my outline, but the overall story is still the same.
I’m averaging about 600 words a day, which is great for me. I’ve even had several 2,000+ days. I’m about a fourth of the way done–far enough along to share a little more about the story.
Luke Tanner has returned to Lexington to put his life back together after a bad breakup. He tends bar at the Gilded Lily every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday while drag queens perform on stage. He also manages the Sinclair Arms — an eight-unit apartment building — for half off his rent — a deal that sounded a lot better than it turned out to be.
Ruby Dubonnet is the main attraction at the Gilded Lily. After she turns up missing, Luke is surprised to discover she lives next door to him at the Sinclair Arms. Thinking replacement headliner Pixie Wilder pushed Ruby out of the way, patrons boycott the club. Luke gets drawn in when Pixie, his one and only friend, asks for his help clearing her name.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Thanks for stopping by.