Let’s talk plotting.
Rather, my version of plotting, which isn’t really plotting at all. You see, I’m a panster, through and through. What does that mean? It means I can’t outline a story idea to save my life. Trust me, I’ve tried. Okay, no, my life was not on the line, but the plot running through my head was so good. I desperately wanted to capture it, but I didn’t have time to sit down right then and there to put fingertips to keyboard. I can’t remember what else was going on in my life, but I’m sure it had something to do with the day job or the kids or, possibly, a deadline for another book. Whatever the reason, I wasn’t in a position to get the story out, so I tried to outline it, thinking I’d go back at a later date and flesh it out and turn it into a best seller.
That was three years ago, and the outline is still sitting in my WIP file.
Guess what? I’m in the exact same situation, again. I have this fabulous story idea—one for a new Tough Love book—and I have too many other commitments right now. I can’t focus on it, but the damn story won’t leave me alone. I need to write it down, or at least some semblance of the story. An outline.
Yikes! I can’t. I just can’t.
Okay, so maybe if I write it down here, talk it through with you all, I can capture it, you get a taste of (hopefully) what’s to come, and then, when I have the time to dedicate to it, I can come back to this blog post and use it to remind myself, inspire myself, and write the damn story. Finally.
Let’s start with how I came up with the plot idea.
A few days ago, I was in my car, heading who knows where, and stopped at a red light. Next to me was a guy on a motorcycle. He was scruffy, tatted up, and hot.
He’s gotta go in a book. That was my instantaneous thought.
And the heroine has to be the exact opposite—buttoned up, cleaned up, maybe a librarian. Or a lawyer. Yeah, a bad ass lawyer who doesn’t take shit from anyone—because I do love my strong heroines, and I feel like there could be lots of conflict between a staunchly straight-laced lawyer and a rough, tattooed biker.
But I don’t want him to be a biker, per say. There are plenty of MC books out there, and that’s not really something I’m interested in writing, anyway. So he needs to be something else, something blue collar, very different from a lawyer…
A mechanic. Yeah, I haven’t written a mechanic before. The heroes in the first three Tough Love books have been FBI agents and a chef. The fourth involves a cop. Plenty tough, but for some reason, mechanics seem like bad asses to me. Sexy, dirty bad asses. I’m really starting to feel this book…
So, how are the lawyer and mechanic going to stumble across each other’s paths? My Tough Love series is about men and women in tough careers who need a little help finding their happily ever afters. These two are definitely going to need help. Why? Well, because she’s a divorce attorney. And she represented his ex-wife, when they were battling over custody of his son.
In fact, he’s still fighting with his bitch of an ex, and that’s how the book is going to start—with him arguing on the phone over what time he was supposed to pick up their son that evening, even though she knows damn well he can’t get out of work until after six. After cussing her out and hanging up, he’s itching for a fight.
He’s been working all day on a car—some expensive, foreign job—and all the problems stemmed from the fact the owner doesn’t know jack shit about taking care of a vehicle. When the admin at the reception desk calls over the intercom and lets him know the owners is on her way back, he can’t wait to lay into her, partially to let off steam from the call with the ex, and also because vehicle owners who don’t know the first thing about taking care of such an expensive piece of equipment make him nuts…
That’s when the lawyer walks in. She’s elegant, straight-laced, looks stuck up, through his blue-collar eyes. She’s also sexy as all hell, and it pisses him off that he notices. His body’s betrayal angers him even more.
You can imagine their first meeting in the book doesn’t go well. In fact, the first few meetings are disasters. It isn’t until they are both bike riding—a hobby they discover they both love—and she ends up with a flat tire, so he carries her bike home for her and they end up striking up a surprisingly friendly conversation.
Meanwhile, she is subtly offering advice on how he can see his son more often, maybe even get along a little better with the ex.
And slowly, gradually, the animosity turns to respect, which turns to friendship, which turns to… something more, a lot more. Steamy more. And it appears we will have another happily ever after on our hands…
Until the bitch finds out her lawyer’s sleeping with her ex.
I haven’t actually worked out the ending in my head, but that’s okay. This is enough to start with. I’m pretty excited about this story. I can’t wait to write it.
In the meantime, my characters need names. The mechanic, the lawyer, the ex, even the son, who is three-years-old (because three-year-olds are so damn cute). The shop needs a name, too. Hell, the book needs a name.
Whatcha got for me? Any suggestions? If I use your ideas, I’ll dedicate this book to you, once it’s written and published.
Lemme have ‘em!
Tami Lund is an author. And a wine drinker. She’s writing happily ever afters, one book at a time. If you want to hang out and get to know her and her author friends, head on over to her Facebook group, Come Wine with Tami Lund. Or check out her webpage, where you can download a free book as well as read excerpts from the editing room floor.