Not that my last post wasn't utterly sincere, but this ought to be a good bit more comprehensive.
Here I'm going to talk about the project I'm currently working on. In direct defiance of my last post. Oh well, procrastination is the thief of time of whatever.
So, this is the process I used to come up with the idea. I've seen a lot of discussions here about how people come up with characters, whether they plan out plots, and so on. I'll put this in a series of steps. I roughly looked at Tehutti's Guide to Writing a Novel, by the way, although I didn't end up following a lot of it.
STEP ONE: INSPIRATION So here I was, in Starbucks, sipping my signature hot chocolate (I avoid caffeine at all costs ) and talking to my mother. This was over winter break when I was back at home. On to the music comes one of those really growly low musicians, you know, the ones that sound like a bulldozer running over clint eastwood's esophagus.
"Hey, you know, when you were little this singer came on and you said 'Hey, it's Cookie Monster singing!"
My intial reactions, naturally were of shame and mild amusement. Then it occured to me, what if it was Cookie Monster? Cookie Monster as an adult? Now in a career as a blues singer because...
"Mom! You're a genius!"
And there I got my idea. I figited the rest of the day until I gained access to my writing journal, unoriginally and cheesily titled the Dragon Book. There I wrote the idea that had been formulating in my head all day long:
"Sesame Street Crime Drama."
I underlined it too, for good measure. Well, there I had it. AN IDEA. And an amusing one too.
STEP TWO: BRAINSTORMING. Now was the time to figure out what the hell I was going to do. I had a vague idea, yes, thanks to mulling it over all day long, but still nothing concrete. I pulled out my trusty laptop, opened up Microsoft Word, and started writing. I started by making a list of all the characters I could possibly think of. Elmo, Big Bird, and Oscar the Grouch came immediately to mind. Later on I thought of Telly Monster, Herry, and a few of the more obscure guys. The list ended up being pretty long.
Then I went through and thought, "What are they doing as adults now?" Grover, with his helpfulness and desire to be a superhero is a police officer. Bert and Ernie are a gay couple. Elmo never really grew up and went insane. Cookie Monster is head of the police department, the Count is a Mobster, and Big Bird is a minor celebrity. Baby Bear is in night school for adults. And so on and so forth.
With basic ideas of some characters I could pull from, I started my plot. First I outlined THE CRIME. The Crime, I decided, was to be the murder of Big Bird. Ok. By who? And so I decided all the details of the plot, it's twists, who was guilty and what were their motivations.
Then I wrote a paragraph describing the plot from the point of view of the reader. It would, after all, be terrible "whodunnit" if they knew the killer from the start. Well, that works sometimes, but never mind. So this time I wrote briefly what the actual plot of the novel would be.
And that was the end of my couple of hours of what I call "brainstorming."
STEP THREE: THE OUTLINE.
Starting with Scene One, I went through and wrote a paragraph about all the scenes. There are twenty scenes in all, and I wrote about who is there, what happens, and what the purpose of the scene is. Through this I developed in more specificity what the plot would be. I also made sure the actions of the characters all conformed to their defined personalities. I also labled each scene with a title, and decided that since it would be a short novel I could make these chapters. I figured that each scene for this book could be about 1,500-2,000 words since, as I said, it's short.
All and all, I decided that my goal for words would be at leats 30,000. That's 20 chapters * 1,500 word each. Yes, that's incredibly short. That is because it really isn't a whole novel. It is one third of a novel. The first "part" or "book." But I find myself unable to meet such a lofty goal as 90,000 words. So instead I break it into three 30,000 word bits which seems more manageable. I treat each one as its own novel, complete with revisioning and everything. I only have a very rough idea of what happens in the other two parts. Rough idea = enough to write one sentence about it. But that doesn't matter, first things first.
In other words, don't give me lectures about how short this is. I'm not submitting it to a publisher in this form. It's one part in a compilation of three stories. Actually, I'm not submitting it to a publisher in any form. It's just for practice and for fun
STEP FOUR: THE PLAN.
Now I took out my trusty sheet of paper, my trusty green marker, and my trusty dispense of Scotch tape. I wrote on the paper:
"1,000 words a day.
500 in the morning.
500 in the afternoon.
1,500 words on weekends."
And this I taped next to my monitor. Yay for motivation.
Is this a real step? Yes. I think it's actually a lot more important than all the steps combined, except perhaps the last...
STEP FOUR: GETTING TO WORK.
Now it is time to start writing. And so I began to follow the Plan, and I will be doing so until it is completely executed. So far I've been pretty loyal to it, actually.
But I have 500 more words to write today...
Then what the hell are you doing here, fool?
That is all.
Separate names with a comma.