In previous posts, I've shared tips for how to finish a manuscript, and today I'd like to share two more. I'm currently in the final stages of writing my sixth novel, and this time around I created two documents that have proved to be extremely helpful throughout the process.
Document #1: TO PUT IN BOOK
This is the actual name of the document, no kidding. It is basically a list of bullet points that includes specific things I would like to include at some point but am not exactly sure when. Here are two examples of bullet points on this document:
I occasionally reference my TO PUT IN BOOK document for inspiration when I hit a wall. Once I use the information, I highlight that bullet point in green, which I prefer over deleting it because it shows the progress I've made over time.
Document #2: TO TIE INTO BOOK
This document is also a list of bullet points, but its contents are a bit more profound and remind me of themes and/or bigger issues to address. Here are two examples from my current novel:
My imagination works in overdrive throughout the writing process, so the above documents allow me to capture and preserve my thoughts before I know where (or if) I'll have a place for them in the book. I won't use all of them, but I'll use many of them, and this way I'm assured I won't forget something that could end up being an important part of the story.
Maria Murnane is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.
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