Friday, June 26, 2009
Keeping your stories straight
One of the most frequent questions people ask is how Jim and I keep our stories straight. When you write more than one book a year, it's a valid question.
I guess to me it's like anything else in life. It calls for a plan and committment. Once you have a plan, you've done half of it. Then you just follow through.
Our plan was always to write everything down and we do; characters, places, plots, red herrings. We keep it all in a file for each story and take it out before we start on a new book in each series. We have notes on each book, maps of the places we talk about and series notes.
Most things you can recall. It's the details that will bite you in the butt if you're not careful.
We also keep photos we took for the book (people, places), newspaper articles or anything else we used for research. We write down where our ideas came from and how we formulated them. It's a big help when you want to review. You understand the ideas behind the story as well as what you've written.
We usually have at least two or three versions of the beginning of each book. We keep those too. Sometimes the character is there but the rest has to come out as you go along. It's right when you know it's right. The early versions show us where we've been and what we've done.
If that seems like a lot, sometimes it is. But writing is a job, not always an easy one either. You have to be willing to do what it takes to get the job done right!