Last night I fired up Scrivener*, a wonderful writer’s tool for Macintosh (and now Windows!**), and started to attempt to plot more. And it worked–I was able to complete the outline for Part I, and most of Part II, along with very broad-stroke outlines for the last two chapters of Part II and Part III. I’m torn on whether I’ll start the actual writing before I finish the outline or not. Either way will work fine.
Anyway, I’m using a three part structure for the book. Part 1 sets the stage and gets the characters from the completed Chapter 1 to Chapter 8, where the stakes rise. Part 2 will be the awakening, and the meat of the story. Part 3 will be the climax and resolution, as well as setting the stage for future books.
Best of all, Chapter 9, the midpoint of the book, will be what Jim Butcher calls “The Big Swampy Middle,” where many books get lost, and I’m using one of his strategies to get through it–the “secondary story,” which in this case is a ritual the protagonist will have to go through, and it will be written in such a way that it could in fact stand as its own short story, much as C.S. Friedman’s In Cold Blood has a chapter that stood apart as a short before the book was published.
Anyway, it looks like things are back on track.
*A writing program I highly reccomend–and it’s fairly inexpensive, with a rather generous license.
** I haven’t used the Windows version, but if it’s half as good as the Mac version, it’s worth getting–though you still have to deal with Windows issues.