Time to clean up my act

A few times a year, my writing desk looks like the pile in the corner could topple and eat me.  Character wheels, plot points, and marketing ideas get piled, one on top of each other, until it’s hard to dig through all of the mess to find what I need.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  My mess is organized.  I know where everything is.  It’s just getting to it that’s the problem.  It’s time to clean and pitch or store.

The bottom of the stack is full of things I wanted to read or reread, but thought I’d look at later–writing tips from K.M. Weiland, strategies to find more readers from BookBub, blogs that I found helpful.  But later never came.

The middle hodgepodge is made up of notes and reminders for my River Bluffs mysteries.  Each book adds more pages–more characters, plot points, and reminders about settings.  Jazzi and Ansel live on the north side of River Bluffs.  Her sister Olivia lives on the south side of the city.  What does Jazzi pass on her way across town?  I’ve made a rough map with detailed notes.  I’m trying to keep track of names I use, too.  I’m a Jenne Bennett romance/mystery fan, and she just put up her 15th book and 15.5 novella.  If I ever get lucky and write that many books in one series, I’ll never remember the names of minor characters I’ve used.  Names pop in and fall out of my head.  It would be easy for me to name a nurse Elizabeth in book three and then a waitress Elizabeth in book six.  Yes, in life, two people could share a name.  But I’d rather keep names unique in novels so that I don’t confuse anyone–especially me:)

The top tier of my pile is notes and ideas for the free romance I’ve been posting on my webpage.  I’ve been extra careful with those because when I started LUCAS, I meant to write a romance for each brother, three romances in all.  I’m not sure that’s my best idea, though.  My Mill Pond series is finished, so I won’t have any new romance to promote. The Body in the Attic doesn’t come out until November, so it feels like it’s too soon to post short mysteries to promote that.  I’m arguing with myself about what to do next.  I want to thank every person who “likes” when I post new LUCAS chapters, though.  Those “likes” make me feel good!

Whatever I decide to write or not write, my pile still needs cleaned.  That’s on the agenda for this week.  I have three big, plastic file folders filled with notes for each of my urban fantasies, tons of notes for Babet and Prosper, and ideas for workshop penels I’ve been on, plus a spattering of short stories.  It’s time lots of those go into bigger plastic boxes to be filed in the basement, so that I can make room for more current projects in my office.

Do you keep your old notes?  Your old manuscripts?  What stays and what goes?  Messy or not, I hope you’re writing!

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