I'm in the midst of writing book 2, and I'm struggling, a lot. I know kinda where I want to go and kinda how I want to get there, but it isn't clear how to do it. When I wrote The Cake Effect, I had months of notes, a detailed outline, and then more notes on top of that. I'd been writing it without actually putting words on the page for months, so when I typed out chapters, I knew exactly what I was writing. No one knew what I was up to yet, so there was no pressure if it never went past the planning phase.
With WIP2, I had an idea combined with the self-proclaimed title of Writer. That was it. I sat at the computer with an idea which evolved into an opening scene, then a few more chapters to meet the characters. Then the brick wall.
Since then, I've fumbled to get to the other side of that damn wall. I jumped ahead and wrote some scenes where new characters are introduced and a bit of the denouement. But it wasn't helping me get the story rolling. I was missing something important. Combine my floundering with seeing all my fantastic writing friends posting astronomical word counts and failure began stalking me (never mind how cute and fuzzy it is).
Fortunately, I already had the answer in my other passion, cooking. When I cook, I always start with a recipe - my plan to get me started. The first time I make a new recipe, I follow it perfectly. Then the next time, I make tweaks until it's what I want. This is what I needed for my writing; I needed a recipe, something I could tweak as needed but got me started.
Unfortunately, if you google my book title plue recipe, nothing useful (or even gifable) comes up in the results. And then my second revelation - the January 2014 Writer's Digest magazine (so new I couldn't find an image of it online). It has spectacular articles about writing your novel in 2014. One article has a handy dandy chart laying out the plot beats and what they need to include. It was the recipe I needed.
Using their fantastic chart as a guide, I mapped out my novel on the dry erase board. I know what I need to accomplish to get my main storyline cooking. As I go, I can sketch out the sub-plots to revise later.
So, dear reader, with a little help from Writer's Digest, I have the recipe I need to finish my novel. Perhaps I should make some cake to go with it.