I enjoyed writing No Stone Unturned, but I thought it was a wow neat idea and not a run of the mill junk thing, not just a rushed make-work book, but a real literarily viable idea.
I got the whole thing thought out in my head before I began, but I kept thinking the bad guys would talk to me like the good guys did, so I'd know why they did it. In all my other books, the characters whipped the plot around like crazy as I wrote, outline to the wind. Generally, their ideas were far more entertaining than what I'd dreamed up beforehand.
But I was starting to get worried. I knew exactly what I needed to do with the rest of the book as far as the 19 kidnapped captives were concerned, but I got over 30,000 words into the required 50,000 word count to qualify as a NANO winner, and STILL HAD NO iDEA WHY THEY WERE TAKEN...
So, I posted on the boards, and got several answers, all predictable and not a bit twisty. I wanted twist...
So I gave each of the "normal" scenarios to the characters to guess as what was going on, but those ideas didn't fit all the facts as written... I could have gone back and re-read, adding and subtracting, to make them fit whichever one I chose, but I was loathe to do it. (Not go back -- I was basically writing the dialog on the first pass; adding character tells, physical actions, correcting any out and out goofs in capitalization, spelling, punctuation, on the second pass; repairing rough, unclear wordings any time inspiration struck, and making one final pass over adding sound words and beefing up the descriptions, stressing sound words and how to tell what you are hearing, how to interpret sounds in the context of a totally dark room... We have a real dearth of words to describe what we're hearing, and a plethora of them for sight.)
Then the lightening hit.
What a gas! It was as if I'd known it all the time! When I went back through the thing, there were all kinds of byplay and little tidbits of fact that POINTED RIGHT TO IT.
I WAS FLOORED. I've never had that happen before. And the idea I came up with is so crazy, there's no way it was lurking in the back of my mind all along.
I'm up to chapter 4 editing, and just realized that I have NO conflict anywhere in the story... I guess my writing process is now up to FIVE required drafts... each doing one thing at a time, after that initial burst of creativity and falling in love with the idea, the wording of certain sections, the personalities of the characters, especially the villains.