Friday, October 13, 2017

Twists, Turns, Dangling Threads

Y'all. I'm phoning this in. Straight up. Dangling threads. Long series. Plot arcs. Right now, the dangling thread is an apartment so empty it echoes. The overarching plot is the work of getting my folks and their cat out of Washington State and down here with us. This series has been airing daily now for MONTHS with new twists and turns every damn day. 

Today's twist - the moving truck was delivered to the storage unit I had to find on short notice. Tomorrow at a time when most people are still asleep, a bunch of strangers I hired will show up to throw everything off the truck into the storage unit. Mind you. It took four people 10 days to load that truck. I fear for my life and for my breakables.

The OTHER twist is that someone has to fly Nicadeimos (Mom's cat) to Florida. Either I have to hop a plane to Seattle and collect Mr. Tuxedo, or one of my folks has to fly down and bring him to me and then fly back so they can finish up the house sale and then drive across country (to SEE things, they say) in freaking November.

Do you know how I handle all of these details and dangling threads? With a Bullet Journal. And in fiction, each book in a series has a notebook. This notebook is spiral bound and gets filled with notes about eye colors, names, places, things, editorial notes, scene notes - just everything. But after the book is done, while the novel is out for edits, my notes get munged into a spreadsheet for the series. Every ship name. Every planet. Every single detail that matters end up in that spreadsheet. Behold: The Series Bible.

Authors are weird. I cop to that. And we all have our bugaboos. Continuity is mine. Would anyone else notice it if I screwed up a detail? Probably. But unless it was major, I could probably count the number of people who noticed on one hand. BUT I WOULD NOTICE AND I WOULD NEVER SLEEP AGAIN. 

So I keep track. Am I organized? No. Am I thorough? Oh, yes. Oh very much yes. Because the sanity at stake is my own. And that's already only so/so. 

For my series to work or me, they have to follow a set order of precedence. Series arc rules everything. Each novel must serve the series arc while containing it's own arc. Each character must have an arc within each novel in which they appear and all of those arcs must serve the series arc in some way. 

Strangely enough, I find it doesn't matter where I start in the process of figuring out arcs. It's very chicken and egg. All that matters is that I start somewhere figuring out arcs and the rest emerge. Easy to say. Harder to do. Each book and each character likes to escape control just little bit. So it doesn't always go as planned.

And now, I'm taking this weary author off to sleep so she can face a day of schlepping boxes and heavy things without ending the day either in the emergency room or in prison.

Keep reading. 

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