I've been hard at work hammering out the fine details of my book.
I used to jump straight into a project with little thought beyond the most basic of plot and a few character names. Needless to say, I never got far.
With my Nano novel, I tried a new approach. Instead of jumping straight into the writing, I spent about a week thinking and living in the feel of the story. I wrote character sketches, drew maps, scribbled any note that I thought may be helpful--I even drew costumes! All of this helped me form a really concrete picture of the world I would be writing in and who these characters (nay, people!) were that I would be inhabiting for months to come. It also made me really, really excited to start writing, and when I did, I had plenty of momentum to carry me through to 65,000 words (though there were plenty of hangups along the way.)
I'm using the same approach to the rework of the Nano, though it hasn't lasted quite as long. I've spent several hours talking it through with Evan--this was probably the most helpful thing I did. He doesn't write, but he does love movies, and anyone who loves movies usually has a pretty good grasp on what makes a compelling story. We bounced ideas off each other, some sticking, some going in the trash, until I had a pretty good idea of where this story was going.
Then I slept on it, and the next day I threw a big monkey wrench in the whole mess: I decided to set it AFTER the apocalypse, not imminently before, like had been the original idea. Things started falling perfectly into place from there.
I regard my writing much as I do other major decisions in my life: I rely on gut feelings. Every major decision I've made in my life has been accompanied by a very strong "sense" of the situation, and if it "felt" right, then I dove in. My writing has been the same way. The fun part of me likes to think that it's a mild form of clairvoyance, seeing far into the future when my book is a best-seller, sending me back signals for what I did to get it there (if only).
The night before last, I had a dream in which I was pregnant. Now, I am neither currently pregnant nor ever seeking to become pregnant--Evan and I decided independently of each other that we just weren't interested in having a family beyond each other and some animals, and that's something that we stick to. However, from time to time I do have dreams in which I'm pregnant, and it's almost always accompanied with happy feelings.
After waking up, I was mulling over this dream when it hit me: Vinita, my female MC, is supposed to be pregnant! And then a ton of other pieces fell into place.
So thanks, future-me, for sending those little psychic transmissions back in time to guide present-me. The dreams are creepy, but I'm happy to take the inspiration from them.
And just out of interest, here's what the dream dictionary says about pregnancy dreams:
"To dream that you are pregnant symbolizes an aspect of yourself or some aspect of your personal life that is growing and developing. You may not be ready to talk about it or act on it. This may also represent the birth of a new idea, direction, project or goal."
Clairvoyance or what?