A few nights ago, we were heading to bed when my husband said, “I like your laptop.” Yeah, seemed like a non sequitur to me, too. Then he added, “It’s like you smashed something in there, and all the ideas are squishing out.” Ahh… Not a total non sequitur after all. He’d just evicted the cat from our dog Fritz’s crate (Ninja loves Fritz’s new bed, and the pit bull is too much of a wuss to kick him out), and the crate is directly behind my desk where rests my frilly laptop.
I’ve previously confessed my love of/unhealthy addiction to the Post-Its that ring my laptop and cover my desk and a good portion of my bulletin board (Peeking at Process). I try to purge them when I’ve wrapped up a book, but apparently I didn’t do a very good job after publishing Founder. Part of the difficulty is that it was the second book in the trilogy, so some Post-Its are reminders about the next book. Others are—well, they’re all over the place. Here are some I decided I could share without spoilers and without prompting you to google “how to commit someone in the state of Hawaii.”
- Ask Paul to reread tire-changing bit + fork. It’s been a while since I’ve had to change a tire, but that’s not true for my characters. My husband took issue with a minor detail in one of these instances in an early draft of Founder and I wanted him to read the tweaks. Ditto with an unclear description of a fork in the road, not dinner cutlery.
- Dictionary attacks? None of my characters have been assaulted by heavy books. (Yet.) This was one of the reasons emails from my new server were bouncing. The issue is now fixed; I think they had me confused with someone nefarious who has a tech clue. (I could fake nefarious—it’s the latter part that’s a stretch.)
- There’s a reason Dresden wears a duster [editing consistency notes]. This is a reference to a Jim Butcher urban fantasy series in which the main character always wears a leather duster. Yes, it’s handy for the character (did I mention it’s magicked to be protective, not just spiffy?) but it’s also handy for continuity. During edits, I noticed a particular Founder character’s outer layer kept changing (jacket, flannel shirt, jacket), and appearing and disappearing from scene to scene. Continuity is a bear, and sometimes a meth-addled one at that.
- Snow chain. This was a reminder to ask my mom what they’d called those telephone tree arrangements to let the staff know when school was canceled or delayed because of snow. I did ask, but I’m not sure why or if I ended up using it.
- Adam—no watch. I may have mentioned this one before. It’s occasionally necessary to let readers know what time it is in fiction world, especially when you’re juggling multiple storylines and points of view. But for the reader to know the time, the character has to know it. This is a perpetual reminder that Adam cannot look at his watch because he doesn’t wear one.
- Prodigal: dumbass (no H); sonuva (bitch, gun). The Dead Hollow books don’t drip with profanity, but they are by no means “clean” either. Profanity spelling isn’t exactly standardized, so this was a continuity note to make sure I spelled certain words the same way throughout the book. (No hyphen used in “dumbass,” and “sonuva-” not “sonofa-” as a swearing prefix.)
- Adam gets “That was something.” Since Dead Hollow has multiple points of view, I have to be careful about different characters using the same choice of words (even though that happens a lot in real life). This was a reminder to search and remove instances of non-Adam POV sections with that forgettable phrase.
- WV—can you apply for a TRO at Sheriff Dept? This wasn’t integral to a scene, but I was curious about the reality. (TRO is a temporary restraining order.) I know I looked it up, but without digging through my notes, I’ve no idea whether I incorporated reality or disregarded it. One of those.
- 1) wrist grab 2) front chokehold 3) rear chokehold. I’ll keep this vague to avoid spoilers, but my research uncovered these three self defense options to counter something that happens in the Founder climax. And yes, figuring out how to incorporate my research involved a lot of me gesticulating and arm-waving and possibly harassing the dogs.
- Pinterest—Beautiful Men. Dead Hollow is the first series where I pre-cast the characters with a Pinterest Board. Some were actor portrayals of particular roles, but often the picture was just shorthand to help me remember without searching my notes, what color are his eyes? Does she still have a purple mohawk? Apparently Pinterest approves of my choices because they emailed to say I might appreciate the board, Beautiful Men. Well, duh—who wouldn’t? By the way, I keep these casting boards secret to avoid influencing readers who don’t want to be influenced. But, if you ever want to compare character casting notes, just drop me an email and I’ll be happy to let you in on my secrets.
This is but a small selection of my laptop’s bulging brains. I removed a few while writing this post, but there are still nineteen Post-Its on my laptop (and maybe twice that on the surface of my desk). If you think that’s bad, maybe someday I’ll share a screenshot of the bloody red comments/notes sidebar in one of my manuscripts. 😉