My number one goal for May (other than keeping my sanity with all the Coyote Con and MayNoWriMo group stuff to juggle) is a synopsis for a possible follow-up to The Bloodgate Guardian. That might sound like a small goal (versus writing 50K in one month!), but as I go through my initial notes, it’s going to be quite difficult.
For one thing, the characters I planned to base the second book on are side-characters I’d created in the second incarnation of BGG. They lived in subplots — they weren’t intended to carry an entire story themselves. Also, I didn’t have these two characters ending up together, so the romance elements are completely AWOL.
In general, I’m ahead as far as basic character development. I know Quinn’s backstory and how the story could open for several sections through his POV. I don’t have as good a handle on Tara, his potential heroine. The other question that nags me is the paranormal aspect. In BGG, the hero is a shapeshifter and a Maya priest. If I don’t do some work, both Quinn and Tara are humans. As is, their story would be humans vs. demons. Maybe that’s okay….or maybe I need a new twist.
As May rushes closer and closer at the speed of light despite my huge to-do list and fervent prayers that I’ll get it all done by May 1st, I’m starting to feel overwhelmed. When that happens, I need to step back and make a list. Break the big insurmountable goal down into baby steps.
Baby steps I can handle. Huge complex synopsis is beyond me right now. So here’s my preliminary to-do list of baby steps….
1. Pull Quinn and Tara files from the second incarnation of BGG. DONE. (Woo-hoo! It always feels good to cross something off the list — which is why no step is too small to write down!)
2. Go through second incarnation of BGG and pull all the secondary demon sections. I had a major shift in bad guys between version 2 and version 3 (the one that is getting published) so I need to at least sketch a possible timeline of the demon’s movements through Texas.
3. Brainstorm some additional paranormal possibilities. Quinn is very solid in my mind, so I’m considering some new angle with Tara. This involves making notes, re-reading some of my research for inspiration, and general doodling. Dedicate a notebook for this brainstorming and keep it in my purse for down moments.
4. Work on the romance. Why are they meant for each other (when I obviously missed that the first time around!)? Why are they the worst possible matches for each other?
5. Go through the Emotional Toolbox for each character.
6. Re-evaluate existing plot scenes from #1 and make decisions about what to keep and what must change. (A butterfly flaps its wings in chapter one and everything past page 10 has to be thrown out.)
7. Write up background and character letters for both characters. Really explore their past, dark secrets, etc. Dig! Ask Why over and over and over. Go through the Emotional Toolbox again if needed.
Throughout all these steps, I’ll be jotting ideas on note cards. Not formal scenes, yet, just ideas, so now I can….
8. Go through notecards and begin discarding defunct ideas and expanding the good ones. Order. Streamline.
9. Write that synopsis!