It's a well-known fact - writers' groups are frequently the source of an incredible amount of useful information. I thank Bronwen Evans, of my writers' organisation RWNZ, for mentioning in a recent Heart 2 Heart newsletter that she had found the book First Draft in 30 Days a useful resource. Bron credits a chat with award-winning, prolific author Stephanie Laurens as sparking her own successful use of this book.
With FDi30D duly purchased, I'm now part way through the intensive plotting process for a romantic suspense I've been dabbling around with for...hhmmm...about three years. It's described as 'a novel writer's system for building a complete and cohesive manuscript'. I have to admit to initially thinking it would guide me to write an actual first draft, but Karen's right when she says her detailed plot outlines are virtually a complete first draft. I can see that it's possible to write a very clean, well-structured manuscript from this detailed outline knowing that all the hard work on vitial plot twists, multi-layered characters, settings, black moments and much, much more has all been done.
As I started working through this indepth process, I had a real lightbulb moment. I'm not a 'pantser', I'm a plotter who simply didn't know how to plot!
I know many writers who would be horrified to know exactly what's going to happen in their stories before they've written them. The thing is we all have to find our own ways to achieve that wonderful feeling of writing The End and so far, it's looking promising that this method is something I can learn from and develop my writing skills around.
Best I keep at it...