So, I've begun working on my newest story - an historical romance set in the American Old West. It's a different time period for me, one that I've wanted to write about, for some time now. Actually, I did write a book set during this era once upon a time. But I was about 19 at the time, so you can imagine how rough it probably was. But I need a change from the Regency - it's a pretty time period, but I'm tired of lords and ladies, the ton, titles and aristocracy and all that. I'm ready for something a little more... blue jeans and tee shirts, so to speak.
Normally, I'm a pantser. The story just unfolds and I go along with it. Lately, this method's been giving me a ton of trouble though - mostly with the story petering out after about 30 pages or so. It's frustrating, to say the least. I've tried rough outlines - but haven't had a lot of luck with those either, so now I'm trying a new approach. I'm writing out sort of a synopsis for each chapter. I've already got the major turning points roughly plotted out, which means I know what will happen. I just don't know exactly where in the book they will happen. Not yet, anyway.
What I'm trying to do is write a rough-rough draft of each chapter as I want it to play out. Each one is roughly 2 pages with what scenes I want and minimal dialogue, so when I finish, I should have roughly 60-80 pages of the roughest of rough drafts. Then I can go and fill in the details.
And, instead of doing it on the computer, I'm writing the skeleton out in longhand, which is a complete change for me. But this way, I'm really thinking about it, and I can work on it anywhere in the house. True, I have a laptop, so I can (in theory) work anywhere in the house on it. But the reality is, I also have a 3 year old who won't leave me alone if he sees the computer. He's got a thing for the Caps Lock key (wants the light on) and loves the arrow keys - so trying to write on it with him around? Not a good idea. He tends to ignore the pen and paper.
I'm looking forward to writing this book, to getting into a different era, with a heroine who is different from the ladies of the ton. We'll see how it goes...