Whispering Caves: Planning a Novel

Originally posted on another site on 4 March 2010.

I haven’t been writing or planning, as such, but I have been spending a lot of time thinking about this story, which is almost like writing. 🙂 Anyway, before I get stuck into the physical planning, I thought I’d make sense of my thoughts and see where I’m at.

First, there’s the one-sentence summary:

Transported to a world forgotten in time, a neglected, modern-day teenager must cope with all the attention and death threats directed at her.

I’m not 100% happy with the sentence, but I can continue to tweak it until I am. However, the sentence is true, which is a necessity. It also hints at travelling between worlds, which I feel is important, and there’s a hint of conflict – a neglected teenager having to face being the focal point (and that’s not even taking into account the mention of death threats). To top it off, the sentence is under 25 words which was my goal.

Alright, I’m happy to move on to the theme. Of course, the theme isn’t necessary at this early stage, but I know the story from beginning to end and feel comfortable putting my thoughts into words.

The theme should be expressed in a few words or a short sentence. This is my theme:

To be happy and free let go of your past demons.

That was much easier to write than the one-sentence summary. Of course, letting go of past demons is easier said than done, but we all know the truth of the sentence and that’s what really counts.

What’s next? Backstory maybe. That was done some weeks ago. I opened a blank document and wrote it like I was telling a story – with dialogue and everything. I really enjoyed the process and now have a thorough understanding of “how things came to be”. This transgresses into world building too. It allowed me to know how things work in my world, and what the limitations must be.

Apart from the plot, the only thing left to think about is the characters. The four main characters are like personal friends, I know them so well. However, having said that I intend to put them through the Jung’s Personality Test to see if I can define them even more. (I did this test myself the other day and the result was exactly me! It was amazing to read.) I will also take some time to write backstories on these four characters, just to be sure they act and react the right way in the story and to do that I need to know where they’ve come from and what their demons are. Once I’ve finished with the main characters I’ll turn my attention to the minor ones. I have a full list of minor characters, but they could use a bit of an overhaul, so I’ll spend some time doing that in coming weeks too.

As for the plot, that will take the largest amount of work, but I figure that with all the other stuff completed, it will become a lot easier once I turn my focus solely on it. I know the beginning and the end, it’s just the middle that needs a lot of work.

Being a planner, I feel satisfied that I’m ready to start planning Whispering Caves properly. That job will start on the weekend and will continue for several (even many) weeks.

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