I spent the week copyediting BELL WEATHER and I’m almost done. Once I mail the manuscript back on Monday, I’ll begin plotting the sequel.
BW is the first novel I ever carefully plotted. I did something called The Scheherazade Experiment and the process worked beautifully for me. The story felt more organic than one without a plot; why not take more chances, and follow more instincts and blind alleys, when it’s only a mess of notes? When I began the actual writing, I was able to focus on the language and storytelling techniques more than on the plot.
But the plotting phase is intensive. I’ll be working out a high-level outline, a brief summary of each chapter, and then a detailed description of each chapter — so detailed that the notes are virtually a first draft. It’ll take all fall, maybe longer.
Other news: Holt commissioned my dear friend Melissa to draw the two maps that will be included with the book, and she’s doing marvelous work. I also signed off on the final cover design. It’s gorgeous. I’m not allowed to share it until November, but here’s a 50×50-pixel sample: