In previous posts, I’ve shared tips for how to finish a manuscript, and today I’d like to share two more. I recently completed my sixth novel, and this time around I created two documents that proved to be extremely helpful throughout the process.
Document #1: TO PUT IN BOOK
This is the actual name of the document, no kidding. It is basically a list of bullet points that includes specific things I would like to include at some point but am not exactly sure when. Here are two examples of bullet points on this document:
- Have her run into childhood friend
- Use the term “morality police”
I occasionally reference my TO PUT IN BOOK document for inspiration when I hit a wall. Once I use the information, I highlight that bullet point in green, which I prefer over deleting it because it shows the progress I’ve made over time.
Document #2: TO TIE INTO BOOK
This document is also a list of bullet points, but its contents are a bit more profound and remind me of themes and/or bigger issues to address. Here are two examples from my current novel:
- Examples of his absence throughout
- Examples of the impact her parents’ divorce still has on her relationships
My imagination works in overdrive throughout the writing process, so the above documents allow me to capture and preserve my thoughts before I know where (or if) I’ll have a place for them in the book. I won’t use all of them, but I’ll use many of them, and this way I’m assured I won’t forget something that could end up being an important part of the story.
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