My life is a series of notes. These would be the ones I've written to myself. They say such things as "Dig up irises". I need that reminder because by this time of year, the iris plants out front are hidden by numerous flowering bushes. And, I really do need to move them so that next year they'll bloom out in the open.
I also have notes such as "oil change" and "change Brita". I post these in my agenda for a date three months from when they've been done. My "To Do" list also has post-it notes attached at odd angles, add-ons and the like.
Birthdays are written on the wall calendar in CAPITAL LETTERS. Highlighter points out the days bill payments are due. Some notes get posted in duplicate in two different locations, making it more difficult to ignore. Others are punctuated by lots of exclamation marks!!!
My latest note written just an hour ago reads, "Midge". That's the name of a new character in my new book. It just came to me while I was reading the morning paper. I didn't see the name in print, although I was scanning the Obits. It just came to me and I liked it. These things do happen and frequently when plotting a new book. I have a collection of bits of paper with jottings, quotations, references, list of possible titles, etc. that I've shoved into a brand new file folder marked, #4. As I transfer these to a computer file by the same name, I trash the paper trail. The act of writing these items a second time, when transferring to computer, helps to ingrain the thoughts in my consciousness and usually leads to a longer writing session as the ideas start flowing.
With this book, having the extra time, I'm also looking at different ways of plotting. This entire process is exciting as anything is possible and after all, what doesn't work or what seems silly when re-visiting, can easily be deleted. Then it's just a matter of locating all those new notes and being thankful for post-its.
Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A KILLER READ
Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012