Working on a Series Notebook

I’ve spent the better part of the last few days organizing old notes, photos, interviews, articles, maps, trinkets, and character sketches into a 4″ binder to become the brain of the series, Misfits and Millionaires–the first book was released in winter 2017, The Big Inch. This notebook became necessary because as I’m currently at work on the sequel, Harmon General, I realized my memory was a tad unreliable for coming up with critical details and all those folders and loose pages on my shelves were no help when I was tracking down what kind of car someone droves in the original novel. And if readers of books are like me, they notice those mis-steps in a series. It might turn off a reader who thinks if the author doesn’t do a better job at research, why stick with the series?  I don’t want that to happen, so a concise notebook seemed critical. To make matters even better, I contacted my number one assistant, my mother, and asked her to re-read The Big Inch and make notes any time I referenced a detail–like what color someone’s eyes were, or if there was tattered carpeting in a room. Betty Lou will come through for me.

I was talking about this idea with another writer, Jill Haymaker, and she turned me towards a YouTube video about creating “series bible.” I took my inspiration from there and began with a binder, multiple divider pages, and a box of clear sleeves. I’ll be going back to the store for more supplies next week. Details are what give the story and characters texture, something I never appreciated as I was writing my first draft. But now that I realize this is going to become a series, I want to be authentic to the world I created the first go around and not disappoint myself, or readers, by being slap-dashy with room details or locations. If you’d like to know more about this notebook process, let me know and I’ll film a little tour through the book to post later. Until then, know I’m wearing a few hats while I write–the creative beret and the book administrative hardhat. Ridiculous, but sadly accurate.