A Method to My Madness

I was tweeting with another author on Wednesday about how interesting we found other author’s processes. On the off chance you are as nosy--erm, I mean CURIOUS--as we are, I'm going to share my method today.

Fair warning: My method deviates often. It’s my curse. I’m the least consistent person in the world, though I do manage to get things done (somehow). Be glad you’re not me. photo (4) 

(for many reasons...)



The folder!

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Since I always have a few book ideas knocking around in my head, I find it's helpful to have a folder for each book. This way, if I’ve got a timeline, an email to myself, or a random photo I can stick it into the folder and forget about it. (I start them before I even have a title in most cases. This one is for THE MILLIONAIRE AFFAIR, book 3 in my current series.)

I find this method especially helpful for characters of future books who are talking to me now. Side note...



Since I don’t want to lose the inspiration just because I can’t write their book right now (or for a year :cry: ), I jot down whatever ideas I have and throw them into the folder. I find it helpful to list who is going to beta read for me and who to include in the acknowledgements, too. I'm so forgetful about those kinds of things!

The notebook!


I have a spiral notebook for each book as well. Yes, they are usually incredibly juvenile, like this one of various animals filling their shopping carts with dinner. (The owl has a cart full of mice. *snicker*) I used to have one notebook for all my writing ideas, but I've found it's easier to have one dedicated notebook per book. And since I LOVE to buy blank journals, this works out great for me.


  • Spiral bound: I can’t hang with the kind that I can’t fold in half and I have to hold open while I write.
  • Lined pages: I love to draw. Give me an unlined page and I’ll doodle, not write.
  • Perforated pages: not a requirement, but the neat-freak in me (yes, there is one) loves that I can cleanly tear out a sheet if I’ve jotted down a note that is for a different book. Then I put it in that other book's folder. See how this works?  ;-)

NEW! The 3-ring binder!

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This is a new habit for me. While drafting THE MILLIONAIRE AFFAIR, I tried on lots of ideas for size and not all of them panned out. The result is characters who change their motivations throughout the draft. Basically, I was really confused. BUT. After starting and restarting, I forced myself to plod to THE END (albeit 15,000 words short). For the edit, I stepped away for a week (okay, three days), then I returned with the pages printed and bound. Here's what I did with them:

  1. Inserted Post-Its to mark changes I wanted to make in certain chapters. Sometimes it was character's feelings, sentences to add...in one scene I opted to change the POV from Kimber's to Landon to deepen the emotion of the scene.  8-O Edits are rough, yo.
  2. Flagged chapters I loved so I knew they were keepers. To my delight, there were a few.  :mrgreen:
  3. At the end of each editing session, I stuck a Post-It note in the binder to mark where I left off. I also leave a note to remind myself where to pick up the next day.  i.e., “Gloria suggests Kimber has a fling”

So there it is! The notebooks and folders are musts, but I have to say, I may employ the binder in the future as well. It’s been really helpful for this book.

What about you? Is there a method to your madness? Feel free to comment below, or even better, write a blog about it. But be sure you alert me when you post it! I want to see how you handle characters, plot, and organize your thoughts! Tweet me: @lemmony or email me: jessica [at] jessicalemmon [dot] com.

MM900365215Oh, and hey, don't forget to pre-order Can't Let Go, Aiden & Sadie's prequel to Hard to Handle! It's only $.99!