I've finished the first draft of The Remembered Queen. It's in the hands of my alpha reader, so now I need to lay it aside and stop fiddling with it while he works. That means I have time to do other things - which is cool.
Things like writing blog posts! I thought it might be fun to crack open my OneNote notebook and share some breadcrumbs about the new book.
I have a tested, refined and organized method for starting, writing and finishing a book. It's the not as creative part of the very creative act of writing. But, it turns out, writing a book is really complicated and you have all these things to juggle and keep straight. Readers will definitely notice if you say a character has blonde hair and later refer to her flowing red tresses. Organization is key.
I draw maps, I keep lists and I leave myself helpful notes. Because I write the books I want to read and I read them after they're done. Over and over. I've read the newly renamed Oathbreaker's Vow probably ten times since I published it. So I want all the things any reader does.
Here's the map I drew of my imaginary grouping of kingdoms. I did it first thing. It's rough and subject to change. (Even at this late date, I'm thinking about renaming a kingdom.) But this way, then I say the characters are traveling west to Tolar, I keep it consistent and Tolar doesn't sneak east.
Next is my very rough map of Anhalt, the capital city of Forint. At first, I didn't think I needed to draw it out because the characters don't spend much time there - just 3 days. But, I kept confusing the damn gates, where each was (even though they're in opposition to each other) and which direction one would be traveling when leaving each gate. FINE.
I keep lots of lists. One is always a running list of names, so I always know what I've used and who's who. I break the list down into really important characters and side characters that just get a mention or two. As you can see from the list below, I may make a few short notes to jog my memory about who the person is. Taire, he's a thug. And Koven, well... that's self explanatory.
And finally, there are the revision notes I leave for myself. Sometimes they're really boring and dry. But sometimes, I come back after a week and find this:
So, from the hints I've provided, you know The Remembered Queen is going to take place in a world with at least seven kingdoms. You know Anhalt is a pretty happening place. (Just look at that map!) You know working girls get some lovin' and that I manage to work nature into the story.
The Remembered Queen. It's going to be out soon and I can hardly wait!