While on a working vacation two weeks ago in Arizona to sign at the Tucson Festival of Books (thank you, Elizabeth and Tell-Tale Publishing!), I had some early morning quiet time trying to get back in the swing of Daylight Savings Time before going home to Michigan, and decided to get reacquainted with the paranormal on my backburner in a glassed-in nook at 3:30 a.m., with strong coffee and a H.o.T. ("House of Terriot") hero. I'd been away from the story doing final edits and stumping for my Tell-Tale Regency-set romance, SWEET TEMPEST (written as Lauren Giddings - my very first book, re-released and pretty fit for 30 years old!). I hadn't expected the words and characters to feel so distant - probably miffed because I spent time with . . . other characters! But also because it's the fourth and final book in a series with a lot of loose ends to tie up.
A four book series with overlapping time lines (why was I thinking THAT would be fun?) is hard enough to manage. Add to that, these four books are a mini-continuation of my TEN book BY MOONLIGHT series with characters and plotlines from those books popping in and out, too. FUN just became a major headache. Just where in this convoluted world was I when I left off?
The care and feeding of a paranormal world can be a headache for a solo project, but when combining characters, events, and over-arcing scenes to make sense to someone reading them cold is like trying to whip up an Emerill-class meal from a frozen microwave dinner. Not only are the storylines cold and the minor characters kind of tasteless, half the creative time is spent trying to find the name of that walk through guy in the first series' Book 6, who had one line who's soon to become the main villain of your WIP. Did his kids have names? Had I given him a prime evil directive? Had I mentioned where he lived or if he had a mustache?
I've tried to keep things organized (ADD with OCD rising!) knowing that the storylines would continue. Five books in, I went back and jotted down the main plot points by chapter. They're on a couple of legal pads . . . I used to know where before I moved. Then I developed a sheet for each scene complete with who, what, where, when and how with pull quotes and excerpts tagged. Most of it fairly useless now that the books were trimmed down in final editing so the pages numbers mean next to nothing in Kindle or paper final format. Knowing there has to be a better way, I've been investigating Evernote which seems (on the placid surface) like it can do the organizing I desperately need without having to go back college to learn Scrivener. We'll see. If I ever have time to devote to the learning curve . . . Please tell me that it can find anything, categorizes and provides quick and easy access to plotlines and characters that span more than one book. And that it can keep up with the editing process? I feel like I'm back at school needing to take a semester off just to catch up.
The book is rolling along . . . with lots of ( )s to fill in when I find that need-to-know detail that will keep their eyes from changing color or stop me from having someone leave one place before they first arrive.
Who said writing was easy? Probably the same fool who said My World, My Rules. Oh, yeah. That was me. Welcome to my world.
Careful of the mess. Work in progress.
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