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Monday, November 17, 2008

More Setup

I'm about to begin the second book in my culinary romance series, and I'm gaining a whole new appreciation for series writers. From Nora writing as J.D. Robb to the chick that wrote the Babysitters Club books--how the heck do you guys keep it all straight?

Not that I have nearly as many characters/storylines/settings going as those long-running series; I mean, I've only written one book! Right? Except, no. Looking at my notes, I've already set in motion a complicated tangle of men and women with differing relationships to each other and things to work out between them. Not to mention, all with different hair and eye colors!! I'm going to screw up some tertiary supporting character's description and get letters from readers about it.

So what's the answer? There's supposedly an Excel spreadsheet out there that helps you track things like this, but I can't seem to get my hands on a copy. Kresley Cole recommended Microsoft OneNote, which helps you to keep all your text and audio notes in one place, plus allowing for images and graphics. Sounds pretty cool, except I have a Mac. So I nosed around a little and asked Stinger for his opinion, and he pointed me toward OmniOutliner and OmniGraffle. Very pretty, in that Apple way, and could be very useful. Have any of you ever used it? Or is there another program I should be looking at? Or should I quit whining and write it all out by hand in a style sheet like everyone else?


I use Scrivener to write and I'm sure it would work for that too. You can find it at

Louisa at the NJ conference Kasey Michaels did a really good workshop on this. I'm thinking of doing series next and I went to it. The talked about doing a series of binders to keep things organized with, synopsis, character sheets and photos of your characters and all the little stuff you may have saved in sheet protectors instead of all over the place. Put in a little rack. You have a book for each book. Bigger books maye have more than one book. You do what works for you.
An organizing programs she suggested that works for people is :

Oh did you read Liza Palmer's book Seeing me Naked? It's about a chef. I loved it. I did an interview with her a while back on my blog.

Louisa, can you ask Kresley if there was a trial for the Microsoft one note? I'd like to see how it works.

Oh Gina - that's a cool tool. And you can try it for 30 days free. Looks like I'm going to have to give it a spin.

As for organizing, the best for me is Excel spreadsheets. I can do the note card thing without loosing some.

Kwana and Gina, thanks for the tips! Kresley did, in fact, send me a link to the free trial thing, which is here:

Let me know if you like it!

I just make my own character sheets with physical descriptions, what their issues are, what their relationships to the other characters are, and in what book their major events occur. But I'm not a very organized person, so I'm sure you could find a better way.

talk about timing. Saturday I downloaded a free trial of WriteWay and began doing character stuff, etc, only to have it all crash on me. Talk about being pissed! I'm ready to try something else though. I might have to go to that OneNote...

Thanks Louisa!

I'm going to be waiting in line for the culinary series. I love anything written about cooking and yummy chefs. I even wrote a storyline in Dolce & Diana about a reality show that involves two chefs. :)

Ah, I love food, cooking, wine and all that good stuff...

I've been meaning to check out Scrivener.
I hope to be (soon) starting the second book in a series, too.
I can totally relate to all the threads and characters etc. Even in this one book, I found it hard to keep straight. I think my brain is broken.

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