I’m about to start a new series.
Well. I say that now. But it’s geared toward traditional publishing, so if my agent sends me THERE IS NO WAY THAT COULD EVER SELL DON’T BOTHER WRITING IT feedback, I’ll probably shelve it.
I don’t think she’s gonna say that.
I am so excited. I can’t even. And it’s a kind of goofy idea, really, but whatever, I’m stoked about it.
And. Also. I’m being way more deliberate this time around. Let’s talk process!
The Old Way
So basically I used to just write stuff. No outlines, no notes, no tracking anything. SMU was written this way, but I’d written all the way through The Honeymoon in first draft before publishing any of it, so revising allowed me to actually keep track of stuff.
In my head, of course. Ask General Wendy how well that works.
That was SMU. I still can’t always find information I need, even with the massive Scrivener project search function (oh thank god for project search, though SMU doesn’t all fit in one project anymore because it is massive).
Then came New Halliday. Which I sort of planned? Ish?
I wrote Fairy Tales and kind of knew Gage and Clem were going to be recurring characters, but otherwise had no idea what the other books were like. I slotted The Spinner, the Shepherd, and the Leading Man in with a vague notion about Neil.
Then I sat down and actually plotted The Real Life Build and Take the Leap together, and it was like a light shining down on me. Not only was it advantageous for the books (in my opinion), but it was so much more fucking FUN.
Queers of La Vista!
I loved plotting QLV. I sat there on the floor of my mom’s house where I worked on Monday and Tuesday mornings back then (while my lovely bro watched the kid), surrounded with index cards, pages of mind maps and timelines and lists of events that needed to happen across the series and the advantages and disadvantages of having them happen at different times.
It was glorious.
And it was helpful! Somewhere around…The Queer and the Restless I actually calendared the entire series. No, wait. I’m a liar. It was actually during One Life to Lose, because I had to get National Coming Out Day right. So it took four books before I timelined.
But I knew a lot. I knew eye colors, and siblings, and names. It wasn’t perfect. (Merin had like five last names. Hannah had different sibling sets.) But it was better than 2.0. And that’s what’s awesome.
Which brings us to…
The Crux Series. Working title.
I’m gonna do this tomorrow, and I’m so excited. First, let’s talk about what’s the same: tons of notebook pages devoted to the series, and tons of index cards.
I have a bullet journal now. I started with bullet journaling in the middle of QLV, so my brain basically runs a “before index” and “after index” information search every time I need to reference something. Finding things in a index? Way easier than having a stack of notebooks and flipping through them randomly.
So. Bujo in hand. Also, I tape the edges of the Crux pages so I can find them EVEN MORE EASILY.
Index cards just basically hold scenes I know I’ll need at some point. Most of the time I know for what book, but not always.
And then…drumroll please…
I have a long, somewhat treacherous relationship with Evernote. I love it, but I hate it. I use it, but only in bursts, never long enough to really use it.
I have lost more things in Evernote than I will ever find again. I think I’m on my third Evernote account. I just abandon the fuckers when they get to be too much.
But the thing is…Evernote is perfect for a series bible. Like…perfect.
I’ve tried to use Scrivener, Google docs, Excel spreadsheets, text files. Email drafts. Ahem. And god knows, paper and pen, but I need some shit I can search.
I mentioned I’ve tried to use Evernote before? Yes. The number of Evernote productivity articles I’ve read are legion, man. And I love that shit. I will gloriously get lost in productivity research. I’m a little tingly just thinking about it. It’s not great for productivity, but it’s way more soothing to me than television.
So I’ve set up a series bible in Evernote. And I don’t know how it’s gonna work yet. I also don’t know how exactly to organize everything. Separate notebooks? Elaborate tags? Tags are the most flexible, because you can save searches, but I can’t have all the notes in one place, right? For a series? No way. Well, maybe.
I did make an index. Which will work just as long as I keep using it. So I gotta keep using it.
It’ll take refinement, but I’m absolutely determined to stick with it for Crux. So far, I’m totally in love. And it’s early days yet! SO MUCH TO ORGANIZE. SO MUCH TAXONOMY TO INVENT AND MANIPULATE. *happy sigh*
Just realized the index doesn’t update when you change the post title. Good to know!