I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.
– Steven Wright
I am doing the happy dance because my first novel Beyond Blood will be published fall 2014 by Blue Denim Press and continuing to write my second novel Beyond Faith.
How the heck do you balance the time for both? I am a newbie at this and as many of you know I have another book out, Beyond the Tripping Point, also published by Blue Denim Press. The juggle is doable, but before I give my tips, I want to refer you to a blog post by another author Amy Sue Nathan who had the same dilemma last year. She has more juggling experience here and each of her novels have completely different characters. So she had the difficult task of keeping her characters separate See http://bookpregnant.blogspot.ca/2013/07/publicizing-one-book-while-writing.html for her post about this dilemma.
My novels are series and so the main characters are the same. Ditto the four linked stories that are part of Beyond the Tripping Point. So that should make it easier to keep track of characters. Right?
Wrong. Especially the timing of the books being published vis-a-vis the timeline in the three books.
My main characters are fraternal twin private investigators Dana Bowman (divorced mother), and Bast Overture (single, gay), Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding (investigating police officer from Major Crimes), PC Joseph Oliver (Records Bureau head who is the twins police connection), Great Aunt Doris (the eccentric aunt of Dana’s ex-husband who lands on Dana unannounced) and David, Dana’s son.
The latter makes things more difficult as he is psychologically mute in Beyond the Tripping Point because of what happens in Beyond Blood. So the actual order of the stories is not the order of the books published. The timeline for the stories (short and novels) is:
Beyond Blood – eight days in August 1998
Beyond the Tripping Point (the four linked stories) from May 1999 to late October 1999
Beyond Faith (title at this point) – late November 1999 into January 2000.
So, while the characters are basically the same (with added ones for each story/novel) I have to watch their development based on that timeline. So, when writing Beyond Blood (actually rewriting as this was the novel in an earlier version that sat on the shelf and on the computer), I had to go back in time and be careful not to mix up the character and plot development order. With Beyond Faith, one thing I have to remember is that Bast shaved off his beard in one of the BTTP stories.
With all this in mind, how am I progressing with publicizing two books actually and writing the third?
First, as BTTP is almost two years old, I have now moved it into the “and other books published” category so any publicity for it will be tagged onto Beyond Blood. That leaves the two books.
I do what I have been doing for years with my writing, editing and teaching writing workshops – use a combination of go-with-the-flow-of-work (I may have just turned senior but I still have to earn a living) and use a Daytimer and to-do lists.
First, except for teaching day-long workshops and attending writing conferences, I don’t work weekends. (Of course I think of story ideas, plots and characters, but that’s internal work, not sitting at the computer and actually writing). Sundays I go over what needs to be done for writing, editing and workshop clients, for book writing and promotion for the next week. And I list them. I divide them up time and day-wise by marking “Mon. a.m.”, “Mon. aft.” etc. beside each. Then I transfer the items to a “to do” list in the appropriate date in my Daytimer. Except for client meets and workshop teaching dates, I don’t specify time of day.
The hope is that I will give each enough attention to move them along for the week. When I was still doing readings for BTTP that often occurred evenings. Ditto some writing workshops I teach. So, I factor that in.
And then the interruptions march in and try to take over, sometimes succeeding. Last week it was a potential new client who kept changing the time and day of our meet, sometimes making up the time. Luckily I phoned him first or I would have showed up at the right place but the wrong time. His last change-of-time was not showing up for last Friday’s appointment (by then I had moved it to my home office to save me some grief). He phoned an hour and a half after the meet time and wanted to come over to meet then. No way. I had other concerns and told him so.
I haven’t contacted him since but guess I will have to. Instead I contacted the client whose manuscript I was evaluating about my progress, finished the work and then emailed her again to set up our final meet. She knows the value of keeping appointments but she is a journalist. I also emailed another client I consult with on her writing and the other mystery author Blue Denim Press is publishing (we plan to do some joint PR – just to make life more complicated). And I managed a couple of sessions of working on Beyond Faith. I also write this weekly blog post (that ties in with book promo) and another more personal blog post Tuesdays that loosely ties in with my memoir I am finishing rewriting – but that’s another story.
Bottom line – you have to be organized, flexible and creative.
And give yourself permission to yell when something gets screwed up.
I also have a house and a garden. Today the guy from the window company is putting in three new windows. I am still after the arborist to cut down the dead silverlace and boxwood (damaged by our wicked winter) and deal with other personal stuff.
All fodder for future writing.
Sharon A. Crawford
You can read about my characters and their stories in my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at http://www.amazon.com.
More info on Sharon A.’s upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html And keep checking http://samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondBlood.html for the latest news on the release of my first mystery novel Beyond Blood, also published by Blue Denim Press http://www.bluedenimpress.com More info on the Beyond Blood page as we get closer to the date.