Happy Tuesday! Sadly, I’m back at Ye Olde Day Jobbe today, but it was great to get an extra day off to spend on my current work-in-progress. Yes, I’m back in New Orleans (at least in my head) with DJ and Alex and, of course, Captain Lafitte! I thought I’d share a little of my process today, which you might find totally boring but…I do have a very special giveaway goodie to make it worth your time!
First, thought, I do have some winners from last week, which I didn’t want to announce until I was sure this newfangled blog thing was going to work.
I also have a favor to ask of you who are reading Lovely, Dark, and Deep (a new episode today!); when you feel you’ve read enough of the book to form an opinion, a review on Amazon would be greatly appreciated! (Yes, even if you think it sucks monkey toes.) The link on the book title will take you to the Amazon page. Oh, and for those of you who are waiting for the print edition, I believe the release date will be May 13. Which might be my birthday and I will be in New Orleans…I think celebrations might occur!
Weekly winners! The process is the same: if you see your name, please email me at suzannej3523 at gmail dot com with your mailing info and, if applicable, your preference of digital or print.
AURIAN won the Reader’s Choice contest last week, and elected to give Vitro to SULLIVAN MCPIG. (Aw, that’s sweet!)
STEPH F won a copy of Ann Gimpel’s Dragon Maid. This is a digital copy for Kindle, so I’ll need your preferred email.
Note that the Paula Millhouse and Cindy Spencer Pape giveaways are part of the author tours, so if you won one of their prizes you’ll get a separate email from the tour organizer.
So, I thought it might be interesting to show you some of my writing process. It has changed a lot in the last year as I used Allegiance (Penton 4) as my testing ground to figure out how to write using the Scrivener software. It felt awkward after so long writing with tons of MS Word folders scattered all over my hard drive, but I got through it. Then I wrote Lovely, Dark, and Deep and really began to appreciate how well it allowed me to organize materials–especially photographs and research documents. I still did my actual plotting in an MS Word document, thought.
With Pirates Alley (Sentinels 4), I have worked entirely in Scrivener, and have decided I really love it because it lets me be as OCD as I want to in organizing materials. For example, here’s a screen shot where I began organizing my world building. The Sentinels world and the Beyond and all that entails…it’s enormous. I have the key power players, though, some of whom haven’t made it into any books yet, so this shows that Faery exists as a place, for example, and the Realm of Vampyre. We’ve met a few vamps in Elysian Fields but haven’t been to their stomping grounds. Yet. *cue evil laugh*
The way I plot my novels is by building on the different relationships and then weaving all of them together. (LOL. That’s a one sentence summary of an online workshop it takes me a month to teach.) Here, on the left, you can see where I’ve broken down my character list. And–sneak preview!–you might see a couple of new names in there.
Hmm…who are those people?
Next, I make sure each character is fleshed out with a profile sheet. These carry over from book to book, and get added to as I write in new bits of backstory or major events. Here’s an example of part of DJ’s sheet–hers is, of course, the longest.
Finally, I take each one of those characters and write down their relationship with every other character on the list, where the relationship stands at the beginning of the book, where I want it to be at the end of the book, and how it might go from one to the other. You can see those folders over to the left. Then I weave together all those strands of plot and–voila–it’s done! Well, except for that whole writing a hundred-thousand words part.
There are also folders set up for major settings and photos–so I have pictures, for example, of what the real Eudora Welty Suite at the Hotel Monteleone, home of Jean Lafitte, looks like. One of the major set pieces of Pirate’s Alley will be the Celebration of the Oaks event held at New Orleans’ City Park every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so there are lots of photos of that in my settings folder.
And there you have it! Leave a comment or question about the Sentinels series or the writing process to be entered to win a 24×30 print of “Bayou Lafayette” by New Orleans artist Lily Parish. There’s a closeup of part of it at the top of the post, and the whole thing below. I used to work in the same building with Lily when I was in New Orleans, and she’s one of the wonderful artists that paint each weekend in Jackson Square. This is matted and signed, but isn’t framed, and I’ll sign it on back as well. It’s gorgeous! Extra entries for tweeting and following me on Facebook (or if you already follow, just let me know).