The Very Pink Notebook is thrilled to have a guest post from author Megan Miranda on the blog today talking about how she went about plotting for her latest Psychological Thriller -
All The Missing Girls - which is told in reverse...
When I tell people that the majority of All the Missing Girls is told in reverse, one of the first questions typically asked is whether I wrote this book in linear order first, reordering it afterward. In hindsight, part of me thinks this would’ve been a more logical way to approach this project, but the truth is that I wrote it primarily in the order it’s read, from Day 15 to Day 1, plotting it out as I went. The reason for this is because I’m someone who comes up with characters, backstories, and themes first, and the plot usually comes later. For me, writing a first draft is often about discovering who my characters are and the nature of their relationships—and then figuring out the decisions they would make as a result.
In All the Missing Girls, I knew the backstory of what had happened ten years earlier first—back when the characters were teenagers and their friend Corinne disappeared, never to be seen again. I knew the pieces that the main character, Nic, was going to be discovering for herself as she dug into the past for answers. So the first thing I did was plot out those moments—both the truths she would uncover and the truths she would reveal herself—creating a skeleton with the backstory. The present story was then created alongside it, mostly as I wrote.
Because I was writing the story in reverse, the draft itself was constantly evolving. Every time I’d reach a new day and figure out something new, everything I’d already written would need to change. Because of this, I kept track of the different elements on a spreadsheet, and I kept several lists for myself for each day: one list for what the reader knew at that point, and another list for what the narrator knew at that point. My goal was to walk the line between the two, staying true to both stories.
That was how I constructed the story. But the characters are what brought the plot to life. I find I often need the characters before I can find the story, and then let them develop alongside one another.
About the Author
Megan Miranda is the author of the young adult novels FRACTURE, HYSTERIA, VENGEANCE, and SOULPRINT. Her next young adult novel, THE SAFEST LIES, will be published by Crown BFYR/Random House on May 24th, 2016. Her first novel for adults, ALL THE MISSING GIRLS, is published in the UK in 2017. Megan has a degree in Biology from MIT and currently lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and two children.