(Repost from Castles & Guns)
First things first, this isn't a blog about the fabulousness of plotting. Don't worry, pantsers! I don't plot all of my books. So I'm not really a plotter, but I don't write by the seat of my pants every book either. Sometimes I do a rough outline of major plot points, and sometimes the book just flows from my head to my fingertips. I guess my style of creating is something in between. Plotser, perhaps.
Recently, as many of you probably know, I've been working on plotting a historical urban fantasy type novel. But I've been doing something different than I have with other projects I've worked on. Letting the ideas simmer and reveal themselves to me a little at a time has been quite an experience. I love letting them brew in my mind and play over and over, trying to figure out just the right way the events should happen before making a note about the scenes. I'm really in no rush since I won't be working on it until November 1st and the fun onslaught of National Novel Writing Month.
I decided to stir up ideas and think about who my characters are before the big move, which has now been completed. I'm now in the aftermaths effect of unpacking. Anyways, I browsed Holly Lisle's website to reread one of her articles on plotting, and what I found very useful was her "Novel Pre-Writing Workshop: Asking the Right Questions." I even decided to try out bubble mapping, which I'd never really done before, effectively at least.
Maybe some of what has helped me has just been the fact that I'm trying something new, but I guess that since I still have the rest of September and the entirety of October to figure out this novel (without burning myself out of it) that I can sit around and tinker with this new system to figure out a way to incorporate to what I usually do. That being said, when it comes to writing with me, "usually" is an abstract word. This way of preparing though makes me feel more at ease since my last few novels had their ideas thrown together at the last minute before I began writing them. Clear procrastination in action. Maybe I can kick my procrastination habit. Who knows?
So how do you prepare yourself before starting a new writing project? Do you have an outline? A vague idea?