I hope you all had a great week last week! We had a very nice (and delicious!) Thanksgiving with two of my sisters and their families. Now the last of the pumpkin pie is gone and it's time to get back to work. :)
As I mentioned before, I sent my latest manuscript out to critique partners recently. While I'm waiting to hear back, of course I'm starting the next book. A couple of weeks ago, when I started this project, I had just a glimmer of an idea. It's a mystery, so at that point I knew the murderer's identity and motive, and that was about it. Then I went to one of my all-time favorite books, the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass. I spent the past couple of weeks working through the exercises and ended today with writing the skeleton of my outline using the step-by-step guide in Appendix A.
I'm a compulsive planner, and I still have plenty of prep work left to do before I start the actual writing. But by working through this book, my glimmer of an idea has grown into a full-fledged story with layers and subplots and complications and steadily rising stakes. I've discovered new suspects and symbols and even my theme. I'm sure much of this will change as I continue to play with the storyline, but it's a great start with plenty of substance and details and original ideas I'm sure I wouldn't have thought of had the exercises in the book not forced me to dig deeper than my initial, easy surface ideas.
So, are you starting a new project soon? Or do you have an old project that needs new life? Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook has two thumbs up from me! Have you read it? If so, what did you think?