I've been doing a lot of reading about plotting a book, laying out characters, creating a calendar of events and prep work that helps a story to be more solid and consistent. So I decided to try it. I had a rough idea of where I wanted my next novel to go but wasn't clear on conflicts or details and set aside an afternoon to diagram it out. Well, it was one of the worst afternoons of my life. Nothing. I couldn't envision my characters, I was constantly side-tracked and ended up wondering if I should abandon the story completely.
Then yesterday my cleaning lady came. I've never had a cleaning lady before but with my writing finally being published, my husband agreed and I LOVE her. She only comes once a week and when she gets here the house usually looks like a tornado hit it. We work in tandem. I do laundry and pick up the kids clothes and other junk, while she does the floors, bathrooms and windows. When she leaves, I love my house again and dance around feeling free! So after she left, I was in a great mood and pulled out the computer, wanting to create something fabulous. Without knowing where I was going, I just started writing. By the time the kids came home from school I had written eight pages of really good stuff. My setting was clarified as was my conflict. It was a fabulous day!
I guess what I need to learn from the experience is that different techniques work for different people. I do think when the first draft is finished, calendaring would be wonderful, but for me I'm not ready to go there until the story is written because I like the story to take form on its own. To unfold like a flower, rather than to be forced into a preconceived form. I hope that way the story is more believable, opens the readers eyes to a new perspective and touches their heart, encouraging them to action.
So today I'm on to chapter two. I don't quite know where it's going to go, but that is the fun of it.