Monday, December 28, 2009

Setting Up

My office is bare. Not my desk, but my walls. I've taken down all the storyboards for Madison One and Two, moved all Madison notes to the wall behind me, removed all the maps for Sasha (it was set in New York, and having never been, I needed the maps), and took down all the Areia storyboard notes—notes that have been sitting on the walls for years waiting for me to get back to them.

All the Areia storyboard notes have gone into an enormous Excel document I call a scene tracker. This document enables me to list the scenes (one per cell) in a column, the subplot scenes in another column, the background plots (there's a lot going on in the world that needs to be included but doesn't necessarily have an immediate direct impact on Areia), and a column to where I can note the stages of the hero's journey (so I don't fall prey to my classic blunder of no third act). The Excel doc has all three books on it, and the last two books, while fully outline by the main events, are nowhere near as detailed at the outline of book one. However, forcing myself to think about the third novel in terms of the hero's journey gave me a brilliant idea for the culmination of the whole series. I'm already excited about scenes I most likely won't write for at least another year or two!

I found this Excel scene tracker a great help when I was doing the edits on Madison. I could use it to keep track of the day and time, see the flow of events easily, and make notes to myself for the next round of edits. It made inserting and weaving new scenes and themes throughout the novel much easier than trying to keep it all straight in my head.

I got the idea of using Excel to organize a book from Deanna Cameron (a 2009 NON author). Unfortunately, I can't find the exact post to link, but her blog is a great one for writers (and readers) to peruse. There's lots of advice earlier in the year from well established authors on how they marketed their novels.

I'm tempted to start working on Areia right away, but I know that with Cody home this week and not really having a schedule/routine of any kind, I'll be much happier to take the planned vacation and start work on January 4. In the meantime, my horribly outdated website needs work and Cody's great at designing websites...


TikiBird said...

Hooray! Sounds like a good way to begin the new year. All that rearranging has got to be good for feng shui purposes. :)

Now, are you going to finish the synopsis for Madison and send queries??

Rebecca Chastain said...

Querying commences January 4 once everyone is back in the office. I figure I'll send queries along to all those who don't require a synopsis first, finish the synopsis (I've really enjoyed taking a break from it!) and send the rest. Wish me luck!