We’ve all had it. That rush of excitement that ripples through us when we get a new idea. If you’re like me, you whip out your phone or whatever is closest to make notes. And yes, I’ve used napkins before. I’ve also stolen my child’s kids menu and crayons to get an idea down. Don’t judge—it was a major break through for Light and Dark.
The biggest rush for me is plotting a new book. I’m still a partial panster, but I work out my characters, inciting incident, and end game ahead of time. With The Prophet, I decided to create a town, which is really exciting. The book takes place in southern Mississippi, on the border of Louisiana. Deep south Bible Belt country. I’ve created antebellum homes, a town map, town characters—all the nuances that are vital to making the book seem real. Starting from scratch means I can do whatever I want with the place (the town is named Roselea, by the way), and I’m loving it.
Of course, this means my brain is working overtime. I’m thinking about the book when I’m supposed to be sleeping. It’s on my mind as I exercise and even when I’m playing with Grace. Does Roselea have everything it needs? How would city government be ran? Would there be a city sheriff or county? Would the area be big enough to have a detective? How many churches would the town have? What do they look like? And it goes on. It’s tiring, but fun. Creating Roselea has helped me iron out the plot of The Prophet and its main characters. I understand their motivations now. I’m sure they’ll change over the course of writing, but I’ve got a strong starting point. I already love Roselea. I can see its historical homes and tree-lined streets as easily as if I were standing in the town square.
With that image in mind, I wrote the first 1000 words of The Prophet yesterday. A small start, but a significant one. It’s only uphill from here.
What about you? What’s your favorite part of plotting? Have you ever created a town from scratch?