Outlining and photos

Last night I did some prep work. I would love to have a clearer picture in my head of what the novel will be, with all of the major events at least. But I don’t work that way. I like having things come to me as I go. If I make an outline I will lose interest, or the plot won’t come together organically, it will be forced. I have to let the ideas marinate for a while, and then it just comes to me how something happens. Like this for instance:

I had just under 2000 words written when I stopped. At the end of that part, my MC stops when she sees a frog, and she says hello. End of story, no more written. I was intending the frog to be a “friend” who tells her where to find someone important that she must talk to before starting her journey. But when I had my mom and sister read the story thus far, Mom said that she didn’t trust the frog. All I said was that the MC saw a frog in her peripheral vision, and he jumped again, and she said hello. But somehow Mom read into it that he is bad. So last night I was thinking about things and realized that 1) it’s really a toad, and 2) there will be mentions of toads but they will not speak, and she thinks they are just innocuous creatures, but at some point she finds out that the toads are spies for “the evil lord” (that’s my work-in-progress name for the ultimate bad guy in my novel… he doesn’t have a name or form yet).

So last night I followed the Quest Archetype research I did, followed the outline of events, and started outlining my novel to fit the events and characters in the Archetype. I didn’t have this research in mind when starting to write it, so now it’s good to have the prewrite as a backup but really I do need to rewrite everything I already had. Not to mention taking out some stuff I knew was bad even as I wrote it, stuff that has no business being in the novel. I wrote into my novel notebook my outline ideas for now (not outlining the middle and end until I get there), as well as some notes about ideas for later in the story, and unanswered questions. The main one being, I really need to look for a name for my Main Character! I could always use find and replace, but I would rather know her name before I start writing the book.

I also started working on my photo album. As I write I like to have images for the main characters so that it’s easier to picture things in my head. Google Images is great for this. I used to use magazines, and after writing a short story I would go through my magazines and find pictures (ads, editorials, whatever) of my characters. Sometimes then I would have to go back and change a detail, like eye color or hair texture. For fairy tale creatures like fairies and toads and such, Google Images is great because I can type in a few words and then browse through pages of pictures.

What else? Last night I also made a nonspecific list of characters in two lists, Allies and Enemies. Self-explanatory. Basically, I know there should be levels of evil characters (toads are underlings, evil lord is the dark master, at least one or two levels in between that are under evil lord but above toads). I have to be careful not to be too stereotypical. I also need to have friends that the MC encounters that either help her along the way in one or two instances, or that accompany on her journey. So there are a few of those listed too.

Big help though, I found a list on Wikipedia of fantasy/fairytale creatures! That will be a big help when it comes to populating my fairyland, and figuring out more allies and enemies. I printed the list and I also bookmarked it.

I think that’s about it for now. I did a lot of prep work last night in anticipation of the Kickoff Party today at 4. Now it’s time to see if I have any more last minute stuff to do, and then getting ready to go and eating something. I am excited that NaNoWriMo is less than a week away, but I’m also anxious that my non-writing prep time is drawing to a close and I still haven’t named my MC.