Fifth Book: Sudden Inspiration

Earlier this week, I devoured Fade In: From Idea to Final Draft – The Writing of Star Trek: Insurrection, by Michael Piller. When I say devoured, I mean I pored through about 250 pages in less than a day. It’s truly a fascinating read, especially for Star Trek fans, and certainly for anyone more generally interested in the inner workings of Hollywood and screenwriting, and I highly recommend it. Especially since you can read it for free.

Anyway, the reason I’m mentioning Fade In here is that it inspired me to outline my Fifth Book.

Okay, sure, it’s part of my 2015 Resolution, but I truly wasn’t intending to go anywhere near the Fifth Book until well after wrapping Book Four, not necessarily for story reasons but because… well, it intimidated me. I simply didn’t know how to properly approach its narrative. But, within Fade In, Michael Piller discussed the concept of theme, particularly what he wanted to focus on and accomplish within Insurrection in terms of character development. In my stories, I’ve never made a particular effort to write this way, the theme seemingly developing or already inherently designed into the plot. However, Piller’s style got me thinking.

I’d only really just developed the general concept for the Fifth Book (along with something of a map)—after all, the Fifth Book is light years away in every sense and likely won’t even be the fifth book I release—so I could still change course on a whim.

I thought it would be difficult. But, within the span of five minutes, I came up with a perfect (and classic) theme around which I could structure the narrative. Though only intending to capture this newly developed theme, the general shape of the Fifth Book nonetheless immediately came into view, and I hastily scribbled every idea that occurred to me.

After a few hours of toiling, I had already tackled the general list of characters and their motivations, and the breakdown of all the main story beats. While it’s no true outline, what remains to hit my 2015 goal is refinement, expansion, and pure choreography.

Which is fun, because I’ve never had to choreograph my writing before.

Five books in, and I seem to be saying something along those lines every time, don’t I?

I hope you don’t expect it to stop.