23 January 2013

Seminar - Building a yearly catalog

We’ve returned to one of my favorite locales.  Everyone has a front row seat.  So come in and take a seat, so we can get started. 

Today, we’re going to discuss building a catalog for the year. 

Some writers won’t follow this because they work as the ideas strike.  That’s fine.  They can use this is a different manner, as they gather their completed work from the previous year to ready for submission.

Here’s the thing.  At the beginning of the year, we are all charged and ready to write.  Those darn new year resolutions have our plans percolating, our thoughts focused.  So now is when we need to create the base of our year’s plan.

If you’ve at least been scribbling ideas down as they come to you (or recording them into a voice recorder) you’ll have a starting point.  The idea is to gather what ideas you have, create a list, then determine which ones work and can be expanded.  Here, let me show you an idea of what I mean:

 - Police stumble across old 1947 mob tunnels under DC
 - Zombie mall attack
 - Shuttle drawn toward black hole
 - College nude model finds clothing missing
 - Novel series based around bible quotes

This is just a small sample of the ideas that came to me just through December.  (And I do mean a SMALL sample.)  Obviously, some will have more traction than others.  The nude model missing clothes will be trapped in a small area.  A shuttle drawn toward a black hole won’t survive the trip without a little deus ex machina.  That narrows my list to the mob tunnels, a novel series (which is an extended project) and the zombies at the mall.  One might require some research (was the mob even around DC in 1947, for instance) but all offer a good vague starting point.

Since I’m someone who has several projects going at once, I’ll take one from this narrowed list to add to my running projects.  For other authors, they might be selecting their first project for the new year, having strove to finish all their open projects from the previous year.  Either way, it gives a great starting point.

Now, I mentioned that this works for completed works as well.  Let me explain.

Once a project is written, it’s not done.  It still needs editing passes, beta readers, and grammar checks before you can release it to a publisher.  So you’d create a similar list as you had with the story ideas, only here you can place a bit more notes.  (Personally, I use a spreadsheet for this, but your mileage always varies.)  Something like this:

 - Bird war at the beach      (1st draft, editing pass 2)
 - Haunted Guard               (2nd draft, 2 beta reads, editing pass 5)
 - Valentine’s Day             (final draft, beta reads done, needs final pass)
 - Sinking of Gustav           (Published!)

With my spreadsheet, the items in the parenthesis are placed in separate columns.  In this case, I’ve placed a temporary title with the story, rather than a concept.  You need to do whatever works for your concept. 

The whole idea behind this concept is to organize your writing so you have a good visual idea of what you need to do, or what you’ve achieved so far.  A nice things about this list is it doesn’t have to remain static.  Each new idea can be added to the bottom.  Completed items can move between the two lists. 

So here is my suggestion:
- create a list of your ideas as they come to you.
- create a list of working projects
- create a list of completed projects

Use these lists as a guide to what you anticipate as your next big step.

So what have I missed?


Today's post was inspired by the topic “Anticipation” as part of the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com/. This ongoing tour allows you, the reader, travel around the world from author's blog to author's blog.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s posting over at: http://suesantore.com/

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour: http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com

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