Every creative person has a groove period, those precious few hours when they’re at their most creative. Mine happens to be from 1 am until my mortal enemy the sun rears its ugly head. It doesn’t jive well with a 9-5 job, I can tell you that.
So, I wrote an outline for Goblins, Parents, and Other Monsters. It was just an Act 1-3 breakdown to cover all the important points. Then I went a step further, doing a chapter-by-chapter breakdown detailing all the major notes and comedic hooks. My best humor isn’t forced, so this much planning is something I’m not used to. Shocker, I know.
Well, as it goes with our best-laid plans, the first draft was 40 super-swell pages. All but 9 were promptly deleted after I decided it had gone five chapters and no one knew what the antagonist was going to be. So I went with a shuffle, moving around a later chapter to the front. It was a funny ‘Day in the life of Leanna Moonbody’ kinda thing. My first reader, CJ Perry, took a look and said, ‘No conflict. Scrap it.’ Well, damn.
So another reorganizing shuffle took place. Conflict, humor, antagonist, action. Hit all the 101 beats correctly. Well, now we’re off to the races, and while the outline is mish-mashed for the first five chapters, I think I can get it on autopilot real soon. Once that comes, oh, what a happy day. I can let the words take hold of me, clicking away until my blood nemesis the sun comes to taunt me. For now, I’m still in the ‘fret over every page’ phase.
So much rides on the beginning of a book. It’s silly, really. Even movie trailers want to skip that part. “Just montage it in the first 5 seconds, then skip to the exploding truck scene with the lightsabers and the sabretooth tiger!” Well, yeah, the middle parts are cool. The ending is even cooler. If the beginning was so damned awesome, we’d have two hours of Luke Skywalker harvesting condensers in the freaking desert.