Recently I plotted out the chapters for a new book idea I’ve been working on, trying to keep it down to a concise ten (and a prologue). The book is a horror fairy tale with a romance central plot, which is a bit of a stretch for me–the romance center, not the horror fairy tale. Horror-fairy tale just sounds like fun.
So I threw a “romance trajectory” scale into my outline, trying to make sure it had some kind of natural buildup and that it wasn’t just an “Act of Author” bringing the romance into existence.
So is this what a romance trajectory should look like?
The two columns are the two characters. The warm colours are for fuzzy-feeling interactions and the cold colours are for relationship chill. Grey is neutral. Each subsequent colour becomes deeper because, hey, relationships are built up on the sum of all previous interactions; you don’t get to reset to the faded pastels just because something new happens. And I tried to make sure their impressions of each other were nicely mismatched during the buildup, mutually disastrous during the crisis, and mutually fuzzy during the climax. (Plot climax; clarification for the gutter minds out there.)
The darkest colours, not so coincidentally, happen to coincide with the most horror-filled of my horror fairy tale scenes.
Keeping it balancing throughout guaranteed that there were some believable evolutions on both sides. So now that the colourful little map in my chapter outline has convinced me I know what I’m doing, I’m eager to actually write the thing.
~ And yes, in case there is any remaining question about it, I am an outliner. A Mad Outliner. If I didn’t outline, I’m afraid my characters would have stream-of-consciousness conversations and walk in and out random doors like they were in particularly lame farces. Also, I might never reach the ending. ~