With most of my stories, I don’t make notes after I’ve finished them. There’s really no need to since most of them are one-shot stories. This is a good thing because I don’t have reams and reams of notes I’ll never use again. It’s a bad thing because I do have a series building up and the only notes I have are on the individual stories.
There’s a simple solution – take a time out from writing those stories and create a story “bible.” Television shows and existing fiction franchises keep story bibles so that important facts, events, and characters are portrayed accurately no matter who the author is who is writing a particular story. It’s something I have to add to my existing process.
So that’s what I’m doing right now. My Double Helix series started out as one book. Then I had an idea for another one, and a collection of short stories about how each of the members joined Helix. Now the series notes are up to six novels and six short story collections. There are too many details to keep straight without a little help.
So characters, locations, organizations, timeline notes, and other details for the entire series are going into one place. I can update it when a new detail comes up. I can refer to it when I’m not certain about something. I can give my beta readers the relevant parts of it so they can make sure I’m consistent with descriptions and motivations.
It does take time away from writing the actual stories, but it will also make things quicker when I need to remember details. Here’s to learning and using new information.
Now that the work is mostly done on the anthology (other than marketing), I’m having to change gears. I’m finding it a more difficult thing to do than I’d expected.
It’s not just moving past the anthology to the next project. It’s figuring out what that next project is. It’s determining just how much havoc the anthology caused to my plan for the year. Because it was completely unplanned and unexpected, I had to drop things I was working on.
Where do I pick up? Where do I start trying to get back on track?
I also have some major decisions to make about what method of publishing I want to pursue with some of my stories. Do I still want to pursue traditional publishing for some of them? Or do I want to self-publish all of them?
How do I market them? How do I build up an audience? A mailing list? What can I offer readers to sign up for my mailing list or visit my site?
How do get back in the right mindset to work on the projects I put aside?
These are some of the things I’m struggling with right now. It may take some time, but I will figure them out.
The benefit anthology that I wrote a story for is coming out soon. As the US “publisher” I’ve been very involved in getting it set up with several different distribution channels. It hasn’t been too difficult, though they’re all just a little different.
But there’s a problem.
That book, sitting there all by itself on each distribution page, looks lonely.
My name is on the book, if I had other stories published – traditionally, or self-published – I could take advantage of any sales on the anthology. There won’t be any “By the same author” links for any of my writing. Some of my fellow contributors probably will see links like that with their names in them.
I’ve always intended to self-publish some of my writing. But I’ve been concentrating on a couple of novels that I was planning to submit for traditional publishing. I don’t have anything ready, polished enough, to self-publish right now. And a month probably isn’t long enough when I’m working on promoting the anthology.
So, do I pause the projects I’m working on? Self-publish them instead of going the traditional route? Or do I pull out some of the story ideas I haven’t written yet, finish and polish them with the intention of self-publishing them as soon as possible?