This weekend I finally took all of the brainstorming I’ve done for Night Fall and starting turning it into an outline.
I used a modified version of the Snowflake Method for plotting. Last week I started with a one-sentence"elevator pitch" for the book, and expanded that into a paragraph of five sentences, making sure that most of them ended with some sort of complication. Today I took that paragraph and expanded each sentence into its own paragraph, detailing the progression from start to finish in more detail. I then broke out each sentence of those paragraphs and numbered them. These were the building blocks for each chapter.
I then spent a couple of hours putting everything into yWriter. (For those of you familiar with yWriter, I have one "scene" per "chapter" — I want lots of short chapters for this, so it makes the most sense structurally in the software.) I used the sentence I wrote for the chapter as the chapter’s description. Each scene also asked for a goal, a conflict, and a resolution, which I filled out based on what I had in mind. This lead to some restructuring of my chapters, which I did on the fly as it made sense (and I fully expect I’ll do again as the book comes along). yWriter also asks which characters are in which scenes, which forced me to start fleshing out which characters+ I’ll need for the story.
I approached the novel as a straight-forward adventure story. Most of the comedy I like usually comes from entertaining writing and scenes, not from a zany plot, so I wrangled my plotting as if I were writing a legitimate vampire hunter story. Besides, by plotting "straight," I don’t have to worry about whether the premise is funny (since it isn’t), and I think I can find some organic humor from the plot tropes of the genre as well.
In the end, I have 29 chapters roughed out. Even if I assume about two thousand words for each chapter (which would make each chapter very short), that’s 58,000 words, which is well over my NaNoWriMo goal. I think it’s likely the book will end up being longer than that, though, so expect I’ll be talking about this well into December. Part of what leads me into thinking this will go long is because I have 13 named characters at this point (although, to be fair, one is a pug dog).
If I have time later this week, I’ll start fleshing out details on the characters to make them all unique and interesting (and funny, of course). In the meantime, I’m excited about working on this!