Thinking, not writing, is how I start this time

I haven’t done any serious writing in over a week, but I’m ok with that. What I’ve been doing is a lot of thinking.

a river-merchant's wife writes...
a river-merchant’s wife writes… (Photo credit: The hills are alive*)

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that everything was falling into place  for a series of novels (urban fantasy?  Labels are such icky things, and I’ve been too ashamed to admit if any of them might apply – that’s over). I have the big picture in my head now, the first arc and the start of a second story arc born from the first.

What I don’t have is the first chapter yet or a decent outline. I realized, and maybe this is finally a sign of some level of festering maturity, that what I have so far isn’t enough to start with. I need to do some serious thinking about this. When I started writing the first draft of what has turned into book one last fall, I thought I was writing one kind of story. Then half way through, a character from another (failed) novel popped in and took over, giving the story some real vitality.

Unfortunately, that vitality made the first half of the novel lacking. I didn’t realize when I started writing the novel that Niki was the central character – her appearances are few and far between until about half into the draft, where suddenly she is the center of the show. So this week, cramped on airplanes like only a fat man can be, or sitting in hotels trying to convince my body not to adapt too much to the time differences, I’ve been thinking. In my mind, I’ve begun reshaping the story, making this Niki’s story. Not necessarily dropping a lot from the first draft, but filling in and fleshing out the story like it should be.

Soon, I hope to be posting my writing progress, maybe even daily. Just not today. Probably not this week. This is the time for planning and plotting so I don’t fall off the cliff again.