Right now I'm working on the sequel to 'Star Cruise: Stowaway', which is my novella in the Pets In Space anthology. (Oh yes, you'll see those buy links for PETS at the bottom but hey, we are supporting a charity which provides service dogs for veterans.)
When I was writing Stowaway, I had an idea for a sequel, so I built in a hook - the heroine has a sister who's in big trouble. If you've read the novella, you know what I'm alluding to! No spoilers here. After I finished my next novel, the long awaited sequel to Wreck of the Nebula Dream (hopefully out in November), and sent it to my editor, I took a few days off to clear my head for commencing a new project. I wrote a lot of blog posts, read a few books by other people and played around on social media.
Slowly but surely I start to feel myself becoming grumpy that I'm not writing my own next story.By whatever process my subconscious (AKA my Muse) delivers my books to me, I know the heroine, the hero, the overall situation, the opening, the ending and a few key scenes.
I sit myself down at my great-grandmother's desk, pet the cat while my laptop boots up, open WORD to a fresh new document and start typing.
TA DA! The process revealed. I don't plot, I don't outline, I don't do anything else before I start writing. In the old days when I had a long commute to the day job, I used to think about my plots while driving and listening to music, mostly to pass the time. And while keeping an eye out for the other drivers on the crazy SoCal freeways.
Now as the writing progresses, there may be times I sit and noodle on a lavender legal pad, and think about some plot options, choices the characters might make and how they'd play out in terms of the story. I've adapted a root cause analysis technique I learned at NASA/JPL, kind of reverse engineered it and it works every time to show me where I really want to go when I've hit a thorny spot in my story.
When I'm writing a novel set in ancient Egypt (my other genre), I stop and do research on various things.
But before the writing starts? Nada.
Total pantster here, but it works for me. and since I'm independently published, I don't have to write an outline or a synopsis ahead of time to 'sell'. I don't have to live up to an agreement to write three books set in the quaint village on the nice planet where X, Y and Z will happen. I suspect I'd be TERRIBLE at any or all of that! I like being a free spirit and am grateful the current publishing environment lets me get away with it. As long as my readers are happy, which they seem to be, I'm good.
So about Pets In Space.... (we do have over 50 four and five star reviews):
About Star Cruise: Stowaway:
Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come – nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.