Thoughts from the Writing Trenches – Part IV

Native Grass at Zion Canyon - bruce witzel photo

93,000 words and I’ve got all the characters on the playing board. That might be a tad misleading. 93,000 is my total word count but many of those words are beyond where I finally introduced my last three characters. As explained in previous posts, I write forward and backward, all within one main document. If I’m deep into the storyline of one character, I might skip to any point in the book where a scene requires me to jump into that character’s head again. The longer I stay with a character the more he or she reveals to me.

I thought it would be fun to share my writing schedule. Morning are the most productive for new writing. Right before bed the night before, I will have reviewed the section that I plan to work on the next day. My subconscious dream self is in on the process and I often do wake up with ideas. I get up and go for it. I’m usually bleary-eyed and done in by 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. I need to get outside to walk, ride my stationary bike and think. I’ll try not to come back to the work until after supper when I sit in my easy chair in the living room and go over what I’ve written.

A writing session involves having several documents open on my desktop. The first draft document – obviously – and backed up every single night without fail. I open my character grid for the current book and another that covers all the books. You wouldn’t believe how often I forget someone’s last name. The other day, looking through the overall character grid, I discovered that Fiona’s mother’s name is Kate. She gets mentioned occasionally. I had decided to name a new character at Micah Camp, Kate. That would be an unfair confusion. So, the Micah Camp Kate became Paula with a quick change using the replace all function. I always have a lunar calendar for the year my story takes place open and waiting. Again, you wouldn’t believe how easy it is to put two full moons in one month. The reader should never have to worry about the passage of time or the phases of the moon. That’s my job. I’ll also keep the character sketch for a new character open if I’m writing a scene where this person makes an appearance.

I often have CBC podcasts playing in the background as I work. I’m not really listening but I like the sound of familiar voices and on some level, knowledge is integrated. But there are times when I must switch over to iTunes and blast some music. My favourite pick right now is Justin Timberlake’s song from the Trolls movie – Can’t Stop the Feeling. If you want to shake up the writing routine and give your back a break, play this song, get out of your chair and dance around your writing room for a few minutes. Great blood flow to the brain.

Trolls movie - Google image

What is your writing routine like? When do you do your best work? Does it have to be quiet or do you like some noise in the background? Come down into the trenches with me and let’ talk.

2 comments on “Thoughts from the Writing Trenches – Part IV

  1. jane tims says:

    Hi Fran. I know you work hard at your writing and it has paid off! More and more I use a table to plot my chapters, keep track of characters and symbols and make sure the time-line behaves itself. I keep the table up to date as I write and print off a copy to make notes when they occur to me, or discover things that are out of place. Then I use the notes in the table to work on the computer the next day. I have a plan to re-read your three Crater Lake novels to ‘prepare’ for the next one! Jane

    • Ahh … Jane, so many thanks 🙂 Re-reading my books. Wow! Your writing process sounds very similar to mine – especially in having to print out those tables and lists and then immediately beginning to make notes on them – for yet another update. LOL – good stuff.

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