First, there was the extensive outline I'd prepared for my WiP "Overcome." Some of you may remember the posts I wrote about the SnowFlake Method of outlining. (Way down on the right sidebar are the labels, if you're interested in reading past posts.) I still think it's a wonderful way to flesh out your characters and plot, but I now see the flip-side: If you decide a major change is necessary, such as changing an important character (her personality, her inner conflicts, and her occupation), then the plot must also change to accompany the new character arc. In my case, 80% of my outline is now in the "cut" folder.
Thankfully, Shannon Whitney Messenger was inspired (there are no coincidences...) to write a blog post yesterday about her outlining process, which was for me the answer I was seeking. Her approach is just detailed enough to guide her, while allowing the creative magic to flow. It's the perfect blend of plotting and pantsing. If you missed it, here's the link: Outlining: Shannon Style
As I reworked my skeletal outline and wove what I have already written about the antagonist with what I was learning about the new protagonist, I noticed a theme emerging that had me and my muse holding hands and jumping up and down. How exciting! And in the days that followed, I realized the working title "Overcome" was no longer the right name for the story.
I have a new working title for the novel. And during a writing break last night, I played around with it and mocked up a (silly) book cover. Just for fun. Here it is:
And here is the new protagonist of "Safe in Captivity":
Samantha Stiles is a high energy, athletic and ambitious woman who is passionate about her work with large cats at a prestigious zoo. Exotic animals are easier to "save" than people, in her opinion, though her instincts push her to try. She has her sights set on a permanent Curator position...
Enter Adriane Conrad, the thorn in Sam's side:
Adriane is the daughter of the zoo's Board of Directors President and heiress to his shipping and transportation fortune. She's used to the jet-set lifestyle and operates under the assumption that she's entitled to whatever life has to offer. Daddy doesn't think so. He thinks she needs a job...
I haven't decided what "Safe in Captivity" antagonist, Ray Manners looks like. He's a tough one. I see him clearly on the inside, but his appearance continues to evade me. I can't even decide on his age. The search is on, though. When I have met him face-to-face, I'll introduce you to him :))
And one more thing I've learned this week; well, been reminded of, at least. In an exchange with Wendy Ramer she reiterated something I've lost sight of lately: Writing is fun. Sure, putting together a logical, exciting, conflicted and resolvable plot is hard and even mind-boggling at times. But it's fun. Right? Yes.
Hope you're enjoying it too!