I sat at my desk this afternoon, wondering what I would write about in my blog post. In search of inspiration, I looked around at the litter of paper and books that surround my laptop. I’m close to finishing the first draft of another novel and scattered on my desk is the stuff I need to carry it through to completion. So I thought I would go through what I consider important to have around when I’m writing.
Each book I’ve written has its own dedicated notepad (or two). This is where I write down character names (what was that person’s surname again?), plot ideas, things to remember to add in or things that need to be changed ‘earlier’ in the story (I don’t go back at the time and change them - I note them and keep going), word counts, place names, and any little bit of information I feel the need to record.
Ever been trying to think of that perfect word and it’s hovering, but you can’t quite nail it down? Thesaurus.
3. Ongoing timeline
My current work-in-progress is the fourth of the White Rose series. When I started writing the first book, I drafted a timeline of events that occur during the story. I’ve continued the timeline to encompass the subsequent books. It looks like a calendar and is marked with birthdays, anniversaries, and events relating to each book e.g. ‘Retribution starts here’.
Apart from my thesaurus, I have two books constantly to hand. One is a travel guide to Washington DC which is loaded with useful information such as restaurants, parks, and maps. The other is Forensic Botany: A Practical Guide, which I use to add credibility to Beth’s work (more so in the later books of the series). I have a shelf of other things such as a police procedural (correct way to read the Miranda Rights, evidence for warrants), and a baby names book for inspiration (phone books are good for surnames).
5. A tray of paper
More correctly, this is a tray of printed articles and information from the internet. I’d give examples, but that would spoil some of the plot in my current story.
Back up, back up, back up. Just thinking of losing my work - even 500 words of it - almost sends me into a panic! After each writing session I back up onto a USB, which is then hidden, and also onto a remote ‘cloud’ server - in two places! You can never have too many backed up copies of your work.
Other bits I have around me include: a cup of tea, my iPad (I usually have my laptop on flight mode = paranoia), tissues, Nelson and Elliot (my bears), pens, sticky tags, a ruler (what does 3 inches look like?), lens cleaning cloth, and quite often, a bunch of flowers.
While all the above is important, there are only two things I absolutely must have when writing: my laptop and my imagination.
Until next time
There is currently a giveaway promotion for my first novel, Roses, on Goodreads. Check it out and enter here (Australians only, sorry). The giveaway ends on January 30, 2016.
What's it about?
It's about words and my life as a writer. There are also tips for those starting their writing journey, with a focus on self-publishing, and encouragement all round.