All right, folks. I don’t care if you’re tired of hearing me blather on about how AMAZING Stephanie Black’s books are, I just can’t stop. She was kind enough to send me a copy of her latest, Methods of Madness. I got it on Saturday (and did a dance of joy), started it on Sunday and finished it on Monday.
Emily Ramsey has spent the last three years putting her life back together after her sister was killed in a hit-and-run and her fiancé disappeared—the same night. But now that she’s engaged to Zach Sullivan, someone doesn’t want her to move on—and someone is trying to steal Zach away from her.
Yeah, it’s all fun and games until someone gets murdered.
I’m proud to say that I suspect the bad guy and/or guys all along. (I’m good like that.) Of course, I suspected everyone. I questioned Emily’s sanity right along with her as her world seemed to conspire against her. So I guess maybe that’s not such a great skill this time. . . .
This book is so intricately plotted, and the characters so well-motivated . . . sigh. I’m ’bout to die of jealousy here, folks. Yes, this is technically an LDS book, but seriously, don’t let that stop you—you don’t have to know anything about the LDS Church to enjoy this book!
What I want to know: how much do you plan ahead, Stephanie? Do you always know most of the turns the story will take in advance (because I doubt we ever know all of them)? How much do you have to go back and add in later—planting clues, lacing in new characters and motivations?
And I need to thank you, too—while I read this book Monday, I also had an idea for a book. Chapter one (2600 words) pretty much tumbled out yesterday. I know what one major plot turn will be, and of course I know the end (Nuclear bomb! Everyone dies! No, wait . . .), and I’m about to sit down and plot from here to there. I usually know my major plot twists—but sometimes the best twists simply present themselves as I’m writing.
How about you? How many layers do you put into your plot? How much plotting do you do before you start?