Preparations for NaNoWriMo Part 3

Over the last few days, I’ve been continuing to prepare my NaNoWriMo novel and I thought I would share the next few stages of it with you.

9. List of Questions

Now that we know what’s going to happen, we need to list out the questions that aren’t being answered in that synopsis.

Some of them may suggest new characters that need to be added, some of them will begin to help us develop backstory.


1. Why did Katie’s suicide attempt fail?
2. How did Michael help her to stay alive?
3. How does Michael reach out to Gerald?
4. Does Michael’s efforts to reach Gerald succeed?
5. Why does Gerald decide a trip would be the best therapy?
6. Why did Brandon’s fiancée break things off with him?
7. Why does Brandon decide to travel back home after that?
8. Where does Katie’s journey take her?
9. What friends does Michael reach out to?
10. How does Michael reach out to his friends?
11. How does Gerald guide Katie during her journey?
12. Why is Katie no longer seeing Michael’s ghost?
13. Why did Katie stop at the bar?
14. Why did Brandon stop at the bar?
15. How long ago did Michael and Brandon lose touch?
16. Why does Michael appear to Katie again after she meets Brandon?
17. Why won’t Katie confront the ghost?
18. Why does Michael want Katie to connect with Brandon?
19. Why does Brandon believe the vision of Michael is real?
20. Why does Gerald believe the vision of Michael is real?
21. What happens on Katie’s spiritual journey with Michael?
22. What happens after the journey?


10. Separating the Story from the Backstory

Take the list of questions you made and separate them into two groups: Story questions and Backstory questions.


Story Questions

1. Why did Katie’s suicide attempt fail?
2. How did Michael help her to stay alive?
3. How does Michael reach out to Gerald?
4. Does Michael’s efforts to reach Gerald succeed?
5. Why does Gerald decide a trip would be the best therapy?
6. Why did Brandon’s fiancée break things off with him?
7. Why does Brandon decide to travel back home after that?
8. Where does Katie’s journey take her?
9. What friends does Michael reach out to?
10. How does Michael reach out to his friends?
11. How does Gerald guide Katie during her journey?
12. Why is Katie no longer seeing Michael’s ghost?
13. Why did Katie stop at the bar?
14. Why did Brandon stop at the bar?
15. How long ago did Michael and Brandon lose touch?
16. Why does Michael appear to Katie again after she meets Brandon?
17. Why won’t Katie confront the ghost?
18. Why does Michael want Katie to connect with Brandon?
19. Why does Brandon believe the vision of Michael is real?
20. Why does Gerald believe the vision of Michael is real?
21. What happens on Katie’s spiritual journey with Michael?
22. What happens after the journey?


Backstory Questions

1. Why have Brandon and Michael lost touch?
2. Why does Katie feel guilty about Michael’s death?
3. Why has Brandon never met Katie?


11. Creating the Backstory

Michael’s Timeline Start: 2:14 End 2:37 pm Total time: 23 minutes

Since Michael’s relationship is central to the backstories for both Brandon and Katie, we’ll start with his. I’ll be looking to answer the three questions above, as well as these additional questions: How and when did Michael meet Brandon, how long were they friends before they lost touch, how and when did Katie meet Michael, when did Michael and Katie get married, how long were they married before Michael converted, how did the conversion impact their relationship, how long was it between the conversion and Michael’s death?

I’m going to set up a base timeline for Michael and try to arrange those answers into it.


October 31, 1972 Michael is born in Sanger, Texas
August 9, 1976 Michael and Brandon meet at First Baptist Preschool in Denton, TX
June 3rd, 1990 Michael & Brandon graduate high school
June 10th, 1992 Brandon leaves college to join the army
September 5th, 1992 Michael attends Brandon’s basic training graduation
September 6th, 1992 Brandon ships out for Ft Huachuca, Arizona and Michael returns to UNT
June 20th, 1993 Brandon is shipped overseas to Japan and their relationship drifts
January 20th, 1994 Michael meets Katie in Computer class
February 14th, 1994 Michael asks Katie to be his date to a dance
June 2nd, 1994 Michael graduates UNT with a degree in computer science
February 14th, 1995 Michael asks Katie to marry him
June 4th, 1998 Katie graduates UNT as a newspaper journalist
August 19th, 1998 Michael and Katie are married
November 19th, 2012 Michael’s mother passes away unexpectedly of a heart attack
January 1st, 2013 Michael begins attending RCIA classes
April 9th, 2014 Michael is received into the church
September 20th, 2014 Michael dies in a car accident


Michael’s mom was the woman of faith in his household when he was growing up. His dad was Catholic but never went to church with them. As an adult Michael drifted away from the faith, but when his mother died he began dreaming of her calling him back to the church. The conversion, though, was hard on his marriage. Katie basically viewed his newfound relationship with God as a competitor to his life with her, and she wasn’t at all supportive.
 
This gives me a good feel for what happened to Brandon and Michael’s relationship. Brandon’s life in the military kept him overseas for about 8 years and although they kept in touch occasionally, time and distance had just taken their lives in different directions.
 


Katie’s Backstory Start time: 3:15 pm End 3:37 pm Total Time: 25 minutes


April 19th, 1974 Katie is born
December 24, 1981 Katie’s father leaves their family.
June 19th, 1983 Katie’s parents’ divorce becomes formal
January 5th, 1984 Katie’s mother moves the family from Lompoc, CA to Denton, TX to be closer to her parents
June 15th, 1989 Katie’s grandfather passes away of a heart attack
June 4th, 1993 Katie graduates high school
August 20th, 1993 Katie begins attending UNT
October 3rd, 1998 Michael and Katie move to Elko, NV so that Katie can pursue her career
February 14th, 2015 Katie attempts suicide
August 2nd, 2015 Katie begins her trip to Denton from Elko, Nevada


Katie’s mother suffered from chronic depression and it led her father to leave the family behind on Christmas Eve. Katie had been very close to her father and it was absolutely devastating to her. She actually hates Christmas because of it. She never saw her father again.
 
They moved to Texas and her grandparents took over raising her in all practicality since her mother really couldn’t. Her grandfather became her second father and he passed away while she was away at summer camp. After that, she and her grandmother became very close as they struggled to hold things together. If not for her grandmother, Katie believes she would never have made it through high school let alone through college. Religion wasn’t really something their household did except on special occasions, and Katie never found it particularly appealing to her.
 

Brandon’s Backstory Start 11:10 pm End 11:45 pm Total time: 35 minutes


January 7, 1973 Brandon is born in Denton, Texas
November 18th, 1975 Brandon’s sister, Elizabeth, is born
August 10th, 1980 Brandon’s sister, Julia, is born
September 9th, 1989 Brandon meets Sheila McMillan in debate class
November 15th, 1989 Brandon asks Sheila to the high school Christmas dance
December 10th, 1989 Brandon and Sheila become official
May 15th, 1992 Sheila breaks up with Brandon after he proposes to her
May 25th, 1992 Brandon begins talking to an army recruiter
June 10th, 1992 Brandon leaves college to join the army
June 20th, 1993-December 16th, 1997 Brandon is stationed in Okinawa, Japan
December 17th, 1997-December 17th, 2001 Brandon is stationed in Germany
January 5th, 2002 Brandon attends John Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD
June 30th, 2004 Brandon graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary education
August 1st, 2004 Brandon hired on at St. Catherine of Sienna High School in Baltimore, MD
December 31st, 2010 Brandon meets Fiona Kirkland at the school’s New Year’s Eve party
March 15th, 2011 Brandon invites Fiona to his church’s St. Patrick’s Day Party, she accepts
March 20th, 2011 Brandon and Fiona begin dating
December 31st, 2014 Brandon and Fiona are engaged, set a date of August 8th, 2015
February 20th, 2015 Brandon learns about Michael’s death while chatting on Facebook with an old high school flame, Sheila McMillan, who tracked him down because she is in charge of organizing the high school reunion.
March 18th, 2015 Fiona accuses Brandon of having a cyber-affair after spotting the chat messages between Sheila and Brandon, they end up breaking up.
June 15th, 2015 Brandon decides to attend his 25th high school reunion in August
August 8th, 2015 Brandon meets Katie at a bar outside of Denton, the two get along really well and he’s absolutely smitten but fails to get her number before she leaves
August 9th, 2015 Brandon decides to drive by the neighborhood where he grew up and spots Katie in front of Michael’s old house
August 8th, 2015 Brandon takes Katie with him to the high school reunion so she can meet Michael’s friends and classmates