If you haven’t seen Amadeus, stop now. Spoilers ahead.
Six books published and I’ve written them the same: all in my tiny little brain before committing to paper (or Microsoft Word, if you’re picky). Long walks during breaks at work, along with meandering strolls around the city, help me string together plots and characters until the tea kettle boils, so to speak, and I grab a keyboard to pour out the contents.
The next two books will be different. Cassidy Carson and I were stuck in traffic between West Sacramento and Reno today, so she pulled out a notebook and let me blather on about Maggie’s and Emma’s third books for a couple of hours. We outlined the Maggie book by devoting a page to each of the main characters, so Cassidy was fluttering and turning pages, trying to keep facts straight as I jumped from person to person.
The Emma book was easier to outline because there was only one page, but Cassidy was shaking her head: “One page, and you have a heck of a book here.”
We laughed when we were done because we remembered the fictional death scene at the end of Amadeus, with Mozart on his deathbed and Antonio Salieri trying to keep pace as the younger man outlined his last composition. In reality, the two were colleagues and friends, and in reality, Cassidy and I are nowhere never their level of talent and notoriety, but we still laughed. We mimicked the scene as if the movie were playing in the background, music and all.
This collaborative effort was fun and valuable because it gave me the opportunity to hear my ideas out loud. CC pointed out the plot holes and gave me a page of issues that need to be fixed.
Bottom line: If you’re a lone wolf writer like me, I recommend seeking out a fellow author and use them to verbalize your next work in progress. You may end up with a pleasant surprise: a better book.