Three Dirty Birds are back with Chapter 8 of KM Weiland’s Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success–Discovering Your Setting.
Ana: In which we learn some things about setting and nothing about plotting.
Kate: Wouldn’t this have been a great chapter if she’d shown us how to make notations on how specific parts of the setting impacted the story, and how it connected to future events?
Zoe: Why is this book on outlining never about outlining?
Kate: We should have paid attention to the reviews.
Ana: I trusted you guys. I trusted you! (I never thought the day would come that I’d complain about a book not having enough on outlining.)
Zoe: We failed Ana. But at least we got a setting interview worksheet in this chapter! I’ve always wanted to ask my setting questions. “So, brave new world, what kinds of clothes are in style there right now?”
Ana: “Currently we like to paint with all the colors of the wind.”
Kate: Now I want to sing and dance with weird little raccoons.
Ana: Is that a change from normal for you?
Kate: Yeah, not really.
Ana: I did bookmark the question list though. I feel like I should look at some of these for my fantasy novel. Although I somehow managed to write that one by making it up as I go.
Kate: It’s a good basic list, but Patricia Wrede really does a bang-up job of it. Actually, I can whole-heartedly recommend her blog for anyone who writes spec fic. She’s an excellent teacher.
Ana: ~googles~ I need to stop being so lazy about setting.
Kate: I tend to write so stripped-down a story in the first draft that my setting is almost non-existent. Then I have to go through and look for places where adding info is useful or atmospheric. Atmospheric is really hard to do.
Ana: Yes, it is. I wish I were writing horror. Then I could just make my novel atmospheric by starting it with rain.
Zoe: Shhhh. Don’t tell people that secret. I’m planning on using it to sell millions of copies of my book on how to write horror.
Ana: Oh, sorry. My lips are sealed.
Zoe: You do have a point, though: atmospheric is easy with horror. Easy and fun!
Ana: You think I could open an m/m novel with raining men?
Kate: That would be fun. I’d like to see you do that.
Zoe: Now you’re giving away the secrets of the next book in my Rainmaker Writing Series.
Kate: I’ll have to be careful not to walk down any dark alleys after a concert, in case Zoe sends one of her monsters after me.
Zoe: I am actually writing one of my personal horror settings right now in my WIP. It’s cold and going to snow.
Kate: You’re setting it in my back yard?
Zoe: Yes—can my characters use your bathroom?
Kate: Sure. But if they take a shower, the hot water is really hard to turn off, so please ask them not to leave it dripping.
Ana: I also think they should shower together to preserve water. It’s only sensible.
Zoe: I’ll suggest that to them. My first order of priority today, after getting my own car stuck in the snow, is to see what kind of drivetrain my character has on his car…because the climax relies on a chase during a storm. It could wind up being a very, very short chase if it’s rear-wheel drive. (And it’s the seventies, so probably…)
Kate: He’d have to have a truck, I think, or a Suburban. I know there were some Japanese AWD in the 80’s, but I don’t think before that.
Zoe: Alas, since it’s a sequel, he’s stuck with the car he’s already got.
Ana: Can he borrow one?
Zoe: No. He doesn’t know anyone in the area.
Kate: Maybe he’ll have to steal one.
Zoe: Would that he knew how. Maybe the plows will be out early and often. (Fortunately the chase ends with him going off the road—like I said, it just might be a shorter chase.)
Ana: Short’s good. Know what isn’t short? The next chapter in this book.
Zoe: Ana takes over the role of segue queen this week.