I don’t talk much about ghostwriting, mostly because it’s technically not my work to talk about. Yes, I may write the words in many cases, but I don’t consider it my work; it’s something someone has paid me money to do, and it belongs to them.
I would like to credit it with teaching me to plot and write quickly, however. Ghostwritten work has a deadline; if I don’t meet it, I don’t get paid (or I am severely docked – not that such a thing has ever happened – I may slack off on my own books, but I never miss a deadline). I figured out how to develop a working plot, break it down into scenes, and then crank out the words.
GNW3 is the first book of mine that I’ve used ghostwriting tactics on. I sat down with a notebook – plotting, for some reason, is easier for me with pen and paper than on a computer, though all actual writing happens at my machine – and wrote down my plot, broken down by scenes. There’s a few hazy areas in there, where I sort of know what needs to happen in one scene but am hoping a dazzling action sequence will ensue, but it’s all written down. I’ve got the first 6,640 words, according to Scrivener, though I know they will need some revising before all is said and done. Still, it’s proving a lot easier to write than Death and Biker Bangs.
I don’t rightly know. DBG was a problem child every way you looked at it; I think it would have been a tough write even if I’d gone bonkers outlining. But DBG aside, I’ve been hesitant to do the mega-detailed-ghostwriting-plot-thing to my own work namely because…well, to me, ghostwriting is mercenary work. I’m a hired gun. I generally treat writing as a business, but my own stuff does still have a place in my heart, and the the methodical plotting process seemed…cold?
That’s not to say I don’t plot my work – I do – but not to that extent.
Yet now I’m wondering why I didn’t. Folks, it is so much freaking easier to follow an outline.
I’ve given myself permission to go off-outline if some wonderful idea develops, and I’ve already had a minor deviation, but having the full plot completed is just so much more efficient. Now I know where I’m going and how to get there.
Let’s just hope I don’t utterly hate it once I do. That’s always a risk with my work.
What have I learned after 6,600 words? For starters, things are a bit darker. I usually go in during revision and punch up the witty remarks anyway, but we’re now at least a couple months into the apocalypse, things are getting real bad, and everyone knows it.
(Fans of gallows humor, fear not. Snarkiness still abounds.)