Time to Get that Map out of the Glovebox

Until I get to know my characters a little, I can't quite wrap my brain around the journey they'll be taking. So for the past month, I've been driving around the wilderness: writing pages, tossing pages, looking for some signs.

One by one, characters have shown up, some of them almost-eerily developed, as if they've been gestating on another plane. Others are still growing, but at least I have my cast now -- and, in draft form, the first few chapters of the book.

But it's time now to pull over on this dirt track's unpaved shoulder. Time to reach deep into the glovebox and pull out a roadmap. Unfortunately, that map hasn't yet been drawn. Oh, I've come up with a vague premise. I have some idea of the conflicts and the precipitating crisis that will act as catalyst.

But now it's time to come up with the narrative to pull these disparate parts together, to tell the story in some rudimentary form. Other authors do this with notecards, storyboards, or spreadsheets, but I've grown used to sitting down and writing a synopsis, which I call "Colleen's Theoretical Guide to How This Story Could Go."

In reality, I almost always end up at a slightly different destination. All right, sometimes it's radically different. But the map's part of my process, so I'll be writing it this week.