Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Project: what's your project style?

I came up with an idea for a new project, and right now I'm in that puppy love stage. I can't stop thinking about it. I want to be with it every second of the day. I can't sleep because I'm already writing the query letter on my iPhone...under the covers. I can't eat because my desk is crowded with papers and pens and post-it notes, so there really isn't room for a plate.

Starting a new project is like stepping outside and seeing it has snowed for the very first time of the season. In your mind, everything is pure and white. The ideas have yet to be trampled by self-doubt. The ideas are not only coming out faster than you can write them down, but they're all wonderful...spectacular...award winning (am I stretching it?)...and you just can't wait to get started.

So, what's your project style? In the old days, I'd sit down, start writing, and see where the story would take me. My first book at 12 yrs old probably didn't have much of a plot. It was really more like a bunch of brainless characters wandering around in a vaguely detailed world (hah!). In recent years, I've learned to write brief outlines. As I have jumped from project to project, I've become even more fond of highly detailed outlines. The problem is I'm always so enthusiastic, I just can't wait to get started.

For my latest project, I don't want to begin the actual writing until the whole outline is complete down to the very last scene. The reason being is I don't want to make any mistakes this time around that cost me a truck load of time and effort. (You're thinking that's probably going to happen anyway...and you're probably right.) So, my project style is CRAZY DETAILED OUTLINING.

What steps do you take when you have a new project in mind? Do you write character bibles? Outline? Jump straight into it? Something I'm totally not even thinking about?