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Organizing Your Writing Life: Production

As I see it, "production" includes everything that goes in to creating your product. So for me, that includes:

  • Story Concept

    • Marketability research

  • Story Creation

    • Series planning

    • Outline

    • World Bible

    • Story Research

    • Writing

  • Cover Creation

    • Cover research

I have a folder in iDrive Sync (but you could create a folder in your Documents, or Google Docs, wherever makes sense for you) called CONCEPTS.

Story Concept

When I get a story idea, I write down all I can right away while the idea is at its freshest in my mind. Sometimes I even write a page or two to cement the concept in my mind.

I save that document as Story Name_Concept, in a folder called STORY NAME.

That way, when I’m ready to move this Concept into my CURRENT PROJECTS folder, I can just drag and drop the folder, without having to duplicate it, helping my folders stay tidy.

Once I feel good about the idea (meaning, it’s a definite “maybe”), I add it to an Airtable base.

Here I keep track of the title, genre, Save the Cat (STC) trope (they call it genre in STC lingo), the basic premise, the theme, an image that represents my story, then the results from some market research including keywords and market interest. You can of course add more columns if you’d like to include more information.

Story Creation

In my iDrive Sync folder, I have a folder for CURRENT PROJECTS. I create a new folder with the new story’s working title. I’ll keep everything to do with the project inside this folder, with the exception of the Airtable bases.

There are many moving parts to story creation—I suppose that’s why we struggle to corral them all properly. Here’s how I’m currently doing it:

1. Decide how many books there will be in the series. ✔️ Create an outline for the series, and then the first book • I use STC tools for this; the Story Spine, the Hero Worksheet, and the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet (BS2) I usually do this by hand at first, because there’s a beneficial creative reaction that happens when your brain, heart and hand work together to create something.

2. Create Airtable World Bible.

Like I said, I’m new to Airtable, but a friend recently suggested it for use as a World Bible, and I’m liking it quite a bit. There I can track every little bit of information I want to collect for my world and view it in multiple ways. It’s a work in progress, but I have a starter base you can copy and try out for yourself. I use the base to:

track characters and their pertinent information

track the history, laws, settings, scenes and glossary

3. Story research is kept in Scrivener, where I can drag and drop links from the web and see the web page within the application itself, which can be handy.

4. I do all my drafting in Scrivener. Not so much because of all it’s many capabilities, but for two important-to-me reasons.

I have a template that has the draft section organized into a Beat Sheet. Once I know my target word count, I can figure out how many words (and therefore chapters) I need in each beat “section”. So it keeps me on track as I write.

I can keep ALL the books in a single series inside the same Scrivener project which is handy for a myriad of reasons.

Cover Creation

✔️ Inside the story folder in iDrive, I create a new folder with “Story Name_Cover”.

Inside that folder, I create another with “Story Name_Cover Concepts” where I plunk in any images I find that feel like they might belong on the cover of my story. I do use Pinterest as well, creating a board with the story name. Either way, I have a collection of images that I can easily share with my cover designer.

If I’m creating the cover myself, then I corral everything that has to do with the cover inside that Story Name_Cover folder.

Is your method of tracking your production files similar to mine? What other great ideas do you have?

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