Procrastination: I’ds da queen.

DaQueenYesterday I was able to sit down and start my outlining for book ten, which I’m doing alongside of some of you frantically scribbling for NaNoWriMo.  My word count is still zero, but I’m almost ready to start writing.  My post yesterday gave you some indication of how I went about organizing my thoughts for a new book.  Well today, I’m going to tell you exactly what I did.

First order of business:  Pick out the color I’m going to use for this book.  It’s a little known fact, but every book I write has a color which I help to quickly identify it in my file cabinet and scattered on my desk.  DWW is red.  GBU is pink.  I’ve had to get creative as we inch up on book ten.  Book ten is a sort of teal blue.  I’ve got matching paperclips, binder clips, and sticky notes, and if you think finding color matching office supplies is easy, then you’ve never tried to find teal blue paperclips.  I found them three months ago and tucked them away, knowing I’d need them.  Heck, I even checked out my sock drawer to see if I could go all blue for the day.  (nope, I had to stick with my purple socks)  The sooner I identify a book with a color, the easier it is to remember it in my head.

Second, I picked out a working name for the book.  No, I’m not going to tell you what it is.  This year, it took me five minutes.  Sometimes, it will take an hour.  It never stays the same all the way to the shelf, but I have to have it in order to print out my header sheets.

Third, I print out my header sheets.  Since I’m writing my notes out longhand, I like to have a header with my name, the book title, and a spot for the date.  I usually go through 30 to 60 sheets when I organize and outline.  Laughing?  Fine, but when someone comes whining to me that thirty years ago she wrote a book about a chipmunk and a shaman living in a monastery fighting crime, I can prove that great minds think alike.  He who has the most data wins, and I’ve got a lot.

I then pick the month the book takes place in, print out my calendar and sun and moon tables, and check the average temps so I know where Jenks sits.  (You can make a calendar page for any month of any year by opening up “new office document” if you’ve got windows and scroll through to “other documents” and find calendar.)  The sun and moon tables that I use are here.  Government sun and moon tables  They don’t take into account daylight savings, so watch it if your characters do.  I’ve used these for ten years, and no one has ever asked me why they don’t use daylight savings after the Turn.  Well . . . this is why.  I’m lazy and don’t want to do the math.

I also print out a blank character grid so I can start to keep track of how many characters I’ve got going.  If there’s too many, I know I need to start trimming plots or combining characters.  I try to keep it under 20 characters, and that includes the bad guys.  I’ll have more on the character grids next week.  I know I’ve been promising a look at one to a lot of you for a long time.

Now I’m ready to plot and plan, writing out my wants, my remembers, my three-sentence plots (I’ve got three this time.  Solve the crime, settle the love interest, and pacify the demons.  It’s a busy book.)

But first I have to change the icon on my computer files from a file to a big star so it’s easy to find.

Is it procrastination, or is it organization?  Beats me, but I’m happy so it doesn’t matter much. 

PS  I also want to tell you about a contest that I’m going to be judging where you have the chance to win an ARC of fellow author Faith Hunter, Book Two in her Jane Yellowrock series.  BLOODCROSS  I have read the first one and loved it.  I’m desperately waiting for the second, but because I’m the judge, I’m out of the running for the ARC.  Not to mention Aleix or Xander would pee on my pillow if I dressed them up.  If you like reading, and you have a pet, jump over to her website for the rules.   Faith’s website

I’m still getting a few Halloween pictures for the contest to win the ARC of BLACK MAGIC SANCTION, most of them will be going up today, but keep sending them in.  Contest runs to the second week of November.

Have a great weekend, guys!  –Kim


Filed under Drama Box

72 responses to “Procrastination: I’ds da queen.

  1. Kylie Ru

    :ears pirk up: Love interest? And more demons?! WOOHOO!! Oh, I just sent in my Halloween picture. Still working on Ceri’s drawing. I might have to scrap it and start over. Grrr. . .

  2. Frotee

    Ahhhh do we possibly get a look at Nick? (Or is he in book 8 or 9? Can’t wait to get my hands on those…)
    It’s really intriguing to gain an insight in how you work. Book 10 seems to have Rachel busy – good thing 🙂
    Happy writing!


    • Hi, Catrina.

      See Nick? See Nick! (sitting on hands, trying not to type) Well, I wasn’t going to say anything, but since you asked. Yeah. I wasn’t expecting him. He showed up. Changed the plot line. OMG, I’m so ticked at him. (This is going to be good!)

    • Frotee

      Yay 🙂
      Sounds just like him.
      Give him a good piece of your mind for me 😉

  3. Indy

    Hi Kim!!! I completely understand on the color-coding. From grade school through grad school, certain subjects always had the some color, so I never forgot anything. Well, I still did from time to time, but it was a big help. 🙂 Organization procrastination is one of my favorites. Alphabetizing movies and CDs is a great distraction.~Indy

    • Hi, Indy. Ahhh, you’ve just struck upon the one organizational tool that I don’t use. Alphebetizing. There is nothing alphebetized in my house. Even my bookshelves aren’t alphebetized apart from getting all the A authors on the first shelf, and the Z on the bottom. Maybe I’m not so crazy after all. (laugh)

      Wow. I feel better somehow.

  4. Phil

    When you outline do you toy with multiple plotlines, story outcomes, the fates of characters, etc., until you settle on the one that’s just right? Or is that usually sorted out beforehand? I imagine that to some extent you can take pleasure in seeing where the story takes you while having a basic idea of where you want to go. From the insights you’ve given us into your creative process I’m guessing that you’re thinking over the story choices even at the paper clip stage. 😉

    • Hi, Phil. Yes! That’s exactly what I do, play with plot lines, balance character involvement, and make sure I end with solving the issue that is raised in the first chapter–all while I’m in this early stage. Once I settle on a plot, I then detail it out chapter by chapter to make sure my logic is sound all the way through. There are usually enough surprises that crop up that it keeps me jumping.

  5. Antonio Rich

    If i worked half as hard as you “procrastinate” i’d get alot more work done.

    I really like that you WORK at creative thinking, putting pencil to paper. How many of us have sat staring at a blank piece of paper…”OK! Let the magic begin!” And wondered “what happened?” Not only haven’t we begun to build the frame for our house, we forget “WHY” we were building it in the first place!

    Speaking of procrastinating, i guess i better rake my leaves now…

    • Hi, Antonio. You have really hit the nail on the head as to why a lot of writers fail to stick to it. It. Is. Work. I think it goes back to no one plans to fail, they just fail to plan.

      Got my yard raked this weekend. I love my small grass plot. Love it. Small is good.

  6. Jo

    Hey Kim!
    Color matching office supplies – you are braver than I am 😉 Cool idea of color coding for your books. I do it with my poetry. Only with the file folders that have printed or handwritten originals in them. I finally got started on the nanowrimo on Tuesday and it was it a slow start. I had planned on starting Nov. 1 but my sister went into labor early (on Halloween) and so my weekend became baby focused. It was great seeing my first niece. And my mom was so stoked about seeing her first granddaughter. Until then there was only boys so I feel fairly sure Hailee (the baby girl) will be uber spoiled. Well I’m gonna stop writing here now and dive back into other writing. Have a great and magical weekend.

  7. Linda (germany)

    I beg for details. 😉

    Wow. I’m so amazed of how you are going to write a book.

    Hope you have a great weekend with all our favorite characters. You’re the boss..;-)

  8. Hmm. I live in a sensible country where Daylight Savings time is a thing for crazy foreigners. I never could wrap my head around changing the clocks (and I lived in a country who did it for two years! That’s four changes I had to endure) so my liking of the Hollows has gone up even more. Never mess with time, you can’t win.
    Did I read settle a love interest somewhere? *Alyss closes eyes and starts hoping: Please let it be R/I, please let it be R/I…* 😉

    NaNoWriMo Status: Alas. 6200 words. Only about a 1000 more than yesterday, (and supposed to be on the predicted 10,000 mark by now.) I had hoped for it to be at atleast 8000 today but work, my brother (though not his fault) and RL intervened.

    Oh well, there’s always Sunday.

    Have a good weekend Ms. Harrison!


  9. Christina

    Kim, I haven’t written in a while, because I have been hip deep in character development. In some of your old posts people have asked you what you have listened to while writing. I myself have always found music to be a distraction, but today I had a revelation. There is a song by Led Zeppelin called “Thank You” that has a particular sad memory attached to it. Procrastination was happening all week with this one character. He is ten and has to see his parents taken away to be executed. I couldn’t get any of that emotion I needed to write his part and I was just shuffling through my ipod and bam it comes on and I get weepy and viola it appeared. I was crying, he was crying it was outstanding. So now I just need to find that song that will make the magic happen when I procrastinate. Thanks and my book is turning out to be a series (I hope).
    -Chrisitna, Orlando, FL

  10. Ann

    Kim, you’re amazing. Thank you for an insightful post. I always love reading your about your Drama.

  11. UK Kate

    Hi Kim, this was a great post today. You’re sooo organised! It is really interesting seeing how you work… fascinating. If it’s ok with you, I may well adopt some of your techniques. I tend to dive into the writing and then a third of a book in I realise I’m in serious plot and/or character trouble! Hope you have a lovely weekend, all bests, UK Kate.

    • OMGosh, Kate! Please take what you can from my rambling plotting posts and use what might work for you. I’ve been working at trying to make this process easier and less prone to “Doh” moments, and this is where I’m at right now. Good luck again on your work!

  12. Marsha

    Am I laughing? Well it does sound just a wee bit anal…but hey, it obviously works! I can’t argue with the results since I love your books. Keep on doin’ what you’re doin’

    • Antonio Rich

      Yeah, but it’s not “Rainman” either (“I’m an excellent writer…Yeeaahh”). If she starts insisting on buying all her underwear at KMart – then we’ll worry.

    • Hi, Marsha. Yup, it’s anal, but as you say, it works. It’s hard to keep an entire world in your head, and it helps.

      And Antonio, you are too funny! 😉

  13. Gothar

    There is a fine line between motivation and procrastin… (too lazy to spell it 🙂 )
    It’s all about baby steps, that’s the phrase I use while trying to avoid what if’s when am designing software. Even if I plan the hell out of it I can still pull code out of my butt or brain depending on the day and hour.

    I’ll have to try the coloUr coding thing. I find the coil notebooks for ideas just get lost in the ramblings of other ideas.

    And Mud, was it a Tridacna gigas?
    Have a good weekend.

    • Yep. They have the biggest pearls…*kof*
      Poor Kim. Anyhow, several of my friends have indeed decided it would be fun and a kick in the butt to get moving on their work, soooo, yay, they signed up! And I get to butt kick. Thanks, none of us had ever heard of it.

    • Gothar, you are so right about baby steps. It’s no wonder that it’s so hard to stay motovated sometimes. You guys help me stay motovated, and that’s no small matter.

  14. SeattleRobin

    Kim, you and Antonio are evil people. I signed up for NaNoWriMo. Why didn’t we get these tips on the vital importance of color coding and coordinating last month? I’m sure it would have helped! (grin)

    So far I’ve managed to barf up 3,490 words of drivel. I have nebulous character ideas for the three mains, and a nascent magic and religious system. (Traditional fantasy genre.) I also have no outline and next to no plot. Thank goodness the tag line is, “No plot, no problem!” I’m good on that score.

    If nothing else, just one day of working on this has doubled my respect for authors. I already had a huge amount anyway, but it’s really different when you try to do the same thing they do and see first hand what’s really involved. (My past goofing around for a few paragraphs here and there doesn’t count.)

    To the others I saw on the previous comments page who started late like I did, go get ’em!

    (p.s I had just started the Truth series at the end of October. I was about 1/3 of the way through the third book. It’s now your fault Kim that sales of the other books will be delayed!)

  15. Stephenie

    I love teal!!

    That’s really interesting. I’ve never thought about printing out header pages to write ideas on. I actually write my books out longhand in a notebook and edit as I type them into the computer. It’s slow, but I work better that way, and I can write anywhere… Maybe I should take a magic marker to all of my notebooks. I’ve got a header when I’m typing, but I never thought of something for writing longhand… hmmm…
    I can’t wait for our pics to go up for the contest. It’s really exciting. My friends and I all loved dressing up as the characters this year, even the ones who had never read the books. My guy friend got a huge kick out of being a demon… 😀 Even though I got hell for dressing Wolverine up as a pixy… My roommates thought it was girly and she didn’t believe me when I explained Jenks is a very MANLY pixy…

    • Hi, Stephenie. Your pictures should go up this morning! I saw them over the weekend. Very cool! (grin)

      I like the clean header that printing them out gives. It sort of adds to the professional look. I got the idea from the Wedding Singer. (bigger grin)

  16. suzannelazear

    Teal blue socks…hmmmm….
    I’m wearing a teal shirt today. It’s one of my favorites.
    I’m actually partial to star-shaped paperclips, lol. I sent a different tot pic, but have figured out the minne mouse pic, lol. Will send for your own personal amusement.
    Sheds rock, but laying concrete has proven a challange for the hubby, lol.
    Happy Weekend!
    ~Suzanne and the tot

    • Stephenie

      There are star shaped paperclips? I have to admit that is the coolest thing I’ve learned all week. I must find some now…

    • I have spaniel shaped ones I won at a dog show…

    • Jeannie

      Oooh mud, I would love to find those, may spend some time on the net looking. Thanks for sharing. I have a 5 year old red american cocker named Lilly. She was born on Easter, hence EasterLilly. Love her so much we are in the process of looking for a male pup, my Christmas present to me. lol!

      Look, EVERY KIND OF PAPER CLIP IMAGINABLE! Well, not the spaniel ones.
      I don’t see the ones I won…

    • suzannelazear

      I found black stars at Office Depot. In late August Staples had them loose in all sorts of shapes including stars, hearts, and music notes (not sure about dogs), and you just filled a contaner with whatever you wanted and paid by the size of the box.

    • OMGosh, Suzanne. I can’t imagine laying concreate, but my dad knows how so I’ll have to learn it at some point. (smile) I got the picture and it should go up today!

  17. Susie

    I love teal blue! And it is not procrastination, it is a necessary step to beginning a new book. Most of all, it is how you function. You’d have to be crazy to try to change how you work after all the success you’ve had writing this way. One of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Well, in my book, doing something different and expecting the same outcome is insane also.

  18. Phil

    Settle the love interest? In Book 10? You do know how to tantalize us lol. I actually didn’t think that could or would come about until the last book in the series, but you continually surprise and delight us! 🙂

    PS~i bought zebra paper clips once, striped in various colors. If you ever run out of new color schemes, well, just a thought… 😉

    • I think it´s extremly brave from Kim to settle it so early…if she misdo something, she will “hear” it from us at this point 😉
      After the last book she could hide away somewhere in the Northern Territory, but after book 10…no chance 😀

      Don´t worry Kim, you know we love you 😉

    • Stephenie

      Well I wonder, does Kim mean to settle it forever or just for ‘now’? Because I was pretty settled with Kisten… 😦

    • Phil

      Maybe “settle the love interest” does not mean HEA…

    • SeattleRobin

      I’m going with what Phil said.

    • Shanda

      What do you mean by HEA?

    • Antonio Rich

      Maybe “settle” as in “decide who the HEA’s are going to finally end up as”, and START writing it in BK 10?

    • Tiffany

      Settling could definitely refer to something ending as well as something that’s been up in the air beginning. Man, it’s gonna be a long time until we find out…

    • Hi, Phil.
      Mmm. Sorry. I didn’t realize how that sounded when I wrote it. Settle the love interest meant both settle on who Rachel is visually “culling from the herd” in this book, as well as settle in her mind who she thinks might be someone who can survive her. They might be the same person, they might not. But Rachel is surprising me in that she’s growing up some more. Funny, that. . . .
      I’ve seen those patterned paperclips. Very cool. I’m a solid color kind of gal, actually. Which is weird, but now that I know it, I can shop for clothes a lot easier. (laugh)

  19. drza44

    First time commenting since the new blog format, but I wanted to say that I like this NaNoWriMo concept. I’ve never heard of it before, but company definitely helps the Muse. I have been working on something off and on for a LONG time, so I’m going to take this month and see if I can knock out 150 pages in it. Not exactly what NaNoWriMo had in mind, but hopefully it works. I often go for months without looking at it at all, but I’m already roughly eight pages down this week and if I stay with it maybe I can hit my mark for the month and finally have some real, tangible progress. (Side question: what is meant by “page”? I’m counting each page as single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman in Word…is that about right?)

    By the way, the look into the “wants” of ODW yesterday was great and I’ll follow in Antonio and Tiffany’s footsteps and simply not ask about the “Rachel biting Ivy” bullet that has haunted me since I read it. I’m not gonna ask, dangit! I’ll simply…imaginate a bit about the epic coolness inherent in said statement…

    • Tiffany

      Inherent epic coolness…well said! 😉

    • Marsha

      That is a very, uhm, “interesting” mental image isn’t it?

    • Hi, Draz. Cool. I don’t think finishing a book is what NaNoWriMo had in mind either, but you know what? I think it’s a great idea. Oh! And a page is about 300-400 words, usually, double spaced, NYTimes 12, yes. I generally have 21 to 24 lines per page, depending upon where it breaks for the paragraphs.
      Rachel biting Ivy . . . Alas, wants are not always what you get, eh?)

  20. In your future should be a “How I write book, not for everyone, but may work for you”. You could include colored office supplies.

    I think the clam has mutated. Erotica. Damn the Aussies. Full speed ahead.
    On the other front, I am taking Chrys out to Devil’s lake to find some rocks, decking her out as a Skin Walker, and sending it in. She posted about it yesterday.

    *Must remember bones from animal lab*

    • Okay, what is in the egg? Why isn’t it green with algae from the light? Mud the nosy. Sometime Mud the embarrassed. I realized my nieces and nephews and a few former students, as well as some of my dog genetics students are reading the happy clam. Well, LKH, watch out.

      I wonder if Clams can be turned into vamps. Eh, why not, it’s our story ;P – make that Mud the weird.

    • Antonio Rich

      You and your writing group are writing Erotica, and your working title is “The Happy Clam”…? Do I have this right?

      ( Deep Announcer Voice:

      “You have got my attention…”

    • I don’t write. I muse. It was supposed to be a bodice ripper with a clam as the female lead. However, my friends, far flung where apparently they don’t have my Victorian sensibilities (I am old) added a bit of a twist. But, the book was completed, got the 50 K, sold, went to the top of the bestseller list, the collaborators sued the person who claimed to have written it. Won, each got their 30 cents in royalties, and the lawyers made off with the rest. Oh well. 🙂

    • Phil

      Sounds, um, interesting, Mud, but a clam? Really??? 😉

    • Hey, it was supposed to be crap…first you need to come up with something. And then let your insane writer friends fly with it. *Sings off key* with a little help from my friends* Mud. Who is facetious (word with all vowels in order) but does indeed have a 60+ embarrassing thread on Facebook. Hey, we were tired, and the idea of a novel in a month was…novel.

    • Hi, Mud. No algae because it’s got about four little shrimp in it, too. It’s a closed system. I LOVE IT!!! Sounds like your writing is capturing not only your attention, but others as well. (grin) Congrats!

    • Very cool, Mud, on the costume. I can’t wait to see it! (grin)

  21. cat

    First, I have to say I LOVE that you pick a colour for the book. LOVE IT! As someone with a mild form of synesthesia (which I can’t ever spell) I always have little quirks like this and your book colouring makes so much sense to me and I would likely be very similar if I were a full-time, professional writer. As it is, I write my songs in colours. Songs, when I write them, come to me in colour and I have to have just the right pen for the getting out onto paper.

    And the printing out of the calendar/moon charts, so very, very helpful! I enjoy this little insight into your book writing routine. Thank you!

    PS – More Trent!
    PPS – are we really up to the 10th Hollows book? AWESOME!

  22. Okay, I have to say it…
    How very…”Ivy” of you. LOL


    Okay, no more teasing. In fact, as the official “Goddess of Spreadsheets” (not self-proclaimed, my mate and our former girlfriend gave me that title), I see some ideas I might find useful.

    Meanwhile, I’m making sure to give my mate the link to this blog, just because he’s going to giggle. (Okay, he’s going to point at me and laugh). 🙂

    • Tiffany

      Haha so true – very Ivy 😉

    • Hi, Euphrates. Yup! This is where some of the inspiration for Ivy comes from. My desire to organize doesn’t come from a need to regain control my life after a life of abuse as Ivy’s does, though. I’ve got my own psychoses. (laugh