Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Project Prep - Getting Ready for the Next Novel...

...and yall's help would be most appreciated.

What's a writer to do when he or she has 'finished' the first draft of a novel?

For me, I don't think it would be wise to jump into editing right away... cool off time is important to my process, otherwise I turn out shoddy work.

Therefore! I am focused on preparation for the next book. Here are some things I'm doing - and I'm looking for tips. What kind of help can you offer me - and all readers of this blog - in the following 5 tasks of Novel Prep?

1. Cleaning a disaster area desk. Mine's truly a disaster right now, rather like the example shown. (That's not mine, but it's pretty close.) Any desk cleaning strategies that you find helpful? Better yet, any strategies for actually keeping it clean? :)

2. Arranging research books for the next book. Because information books are AWESOME. As for me, I'm looking for a good book on basic, day-to-day life in a 1910-20s era world... specifically, Russia and Great Britain, although anything with a similar feel would be great. Anybody know where I might find one?

3. Gathering together notes and artwork. I have much notage, as I'm sure all writers do. This next novel has been on my mind for some time. Notes upon notes upon drawings upon notes.... and most of them are handwritten, hardcopy. Who has a brilliant and simple filing system? Right now I'm using binders.

4. Editing a short and bittersweet fantasy story. I'm prepping one for alphas right now. Broad stroke editing (as opposed to a line edit) helps me get my mind off everything because I LOVE it. Now here's the question: how important is it to you to know what the character looks like, or would you rather the author left it to your imagination?

5. Keeping an ear out for a new playlist. The old playlist for my last book (primarily Nickel Creek and The Civil Wars) just isn't going to cut it for this one. Does anybody have some favorite writing music they want to share?

What other things do you do to prep for the next novel/cool down from the last one? Comments are open to all...


  1. #1) I've found a good marriage facilitates a good desk (and house) cleaning--whether I want it cleaned or not.
    #2) Sorry, dude. I'm no help there. Right age, wrong location.
    #3) I'm fond of the AFS (Abstract Filing System)
    #4) None at all--unless she's cute.
    #5) I can't write to music. I get too caught up singing with Brandon Heath and Jason Gray and then my wife climbs the steps to yell at me cause she can't hear the tele over my dying gasps of agony. (Although lately it's been Building 429's latest.)

  2. I think you're right. Always good to get some time away before you jump back into it. :) Go out and do some fun things too! Whatever it is that you enjoy doing. I've learned that just by living life I'm inspired. :)

  3. I don't know much about the writing process but as a reader I think I can answer Q #4. I like the author to describe characters, especially main characters that are going to be around for the whole novel. It doesn't have to be overly descriptive but hair and skin color, body type, and any unique features will go a long way to helping shape a story, I think. Of course, you could end up having readers who don't pay attention, like the whole Hunger Game uproar. Have you heard about this? Some (very racist) people were upset that Rue and Thresh were black in the movie, even though they are described as black in the book.... I am still rolling my eyes. I guess you just have to hope that your readers are smarter than that.

    1. Wow. That's all I gotta say about the racist Hunger Games people. Wow. :)

      I think you're right when it comes to the details - the description of the character can help shape the story. I hadn't really thought of it in that light, but yes. I will keep this in mind during my edits.