My first book, Attached was written with very little organization; a few scene ideas and research written on index cards.
The second book, The Butterfly Curtain, was more organized. I had an outline, research cards, and a few scene note cards. Plus, character biographies and even written letters from them to me.
Now the third novel has been more organized. I have an outline template on Scrivener which includes character biographies, the Three Act Structure model which is broken down in chapters; goals and motivations of each major and secondary character, and any internal and external character conflicts. Of course, I have a four-inch stack of scene note cards, then the scene title cards listed under each chapter taped to my wall.
I have to admit that my writing seems to flow easier when I feel organized and I’m more in tune with showing and describing so that the reader can get more acquainted with the characters.
My readers were a little acquainted with the characters in Attached, then quite a bit more in The Butterfly Curtain – I’ve had a few people email me and say they couldn’t put it down and that brought happy tears to my eyes. This means my writing is getting better and it shows within each book.
Through the reviews of my two novels, I’ve learned that I need to dig deeper with character and setting, make sure the sentences flow, and of course, grammar. I’m hoping this year I can afford to pay for an editor, but I really would like to take the traditional publishing path. I don’t like marketing. I’m terrible at it no matter how I try to learn. I just can’t get the information to stick in my brain. I have the same problem with numbers – my mind pushes it out. I don’t mind social networking once in a while, as long as it doesn’t eat up my writing time. What can I say? I love writing. In fact, I’m addicted and dedicated to it. When I can’t write, I’m like a flower without water and sometimes, I get extremely irritable.
The new novel doesn’t have an official title, yet. I’m thinking of naming it, Love As It Seems, but I’m still rolling it around in my head as a certain theme develops.
To be honest, my outline isn’t being followed as much as I intended. It’s a sort of guideline to manipulate myself into thinking ‘I’m a real good organized writer’. But when the characters that you get to know so well, start to actually live inside your head and take control, you have no choice than to go with it. I suppose I would make a horrible movie director.
I’m on my thirteenth chapter with a word count of 43,487 for the first draft hoping to get it done by June when my writing schedule may decrease and my work schedule increases.
Let me tell you, working at a baseball stadium is a tough job. I’ve waitressed, tended bar, run a daycare, cleaned condos during tourist season, and worked long hours in retail during the holidays. Those jobs are a walk in the park compared to serving and pleasing baseball fans. Although, you do limp (or in my case crawl) out of there with a sense of accomplishment each night crying, “I’M ALIVE! Lord, yes, I’m still alive.” Now I know why I’m the oldest person working there besides the managers.
If you ever feel the spiritualistic need to re-evaluate the meaning of your life, I highly suggest working even just one night at your nearest sports stadium. I guarantee you’ll end up more humbled than a flogged monk.