Over the weekend, I quietly crossed the halfway point of my novel. I’m one of those writers who tends to take lots of notes and spends a lot of time preparing. Once I’m all set, then it’s a marathon to get it all down into a workable first draft. Since this is the first major project I’ve been able to do in my own work space, I’ve been able to add some new tools I’ve never had before.
The best tool I’ve added to my arsenal is the white board which hangs over my desk. I’ve managed to break the book down into a working grid and I fill in the box as I finish the sections. This visual reminder of where I am and where I still need to go has been a huge asset for me.
(On the wall to the right of this photograph is my Crazy Wall of Post-It notes, where I have ideas scattered all over the place and once I have it hammered down into something more cohesive, it’ll make its way to the white board.)
Since I use two different laptops, I found DropBox to be a great help in working on this project as well. Now I know all about the security concerns for the service, which is why I don’t overload my folder with everything under the sun, just a few of the writing projects I’m working on at the moment. And since the last two weeks have been all about end of the school year stuff, when I had an hour between exams or what not, I could open up the travel laptop, write down a quick thousand words, and know that it’ll be waiting for me on my primary laptop when I got home.
Really, just having my own environment to do what I need to do has been an enormous advantage for me. I’m usually the guy in the corner at Starbucks frowning at his laptop, which had worked for me for a long, long time. But a lot of that simply had to do with not having a working place of my own. Since I’ve moved into our new home, the amount of writing I’ve finished has been extraordinary.
The book that has been the most helpful throughout this process is Classical Mythology in Literature, Art and Music due to the subject matter I’m writing about. This is absolutely my favorite book on the subject. The book is also sentimental for me, because this was the book my father had in his library. Over the years, I invested a lot of energy trying to steal this book out of his library, and a few years ago, my father found a copy online and had it shipped to me. That was a happy day. I’m so damned proud to have this book in my collection and I’m thankful to have it as I’m working for reference (I know there’s the Internet for this stuff, but honestly, I’ve yet to find a resource online that is half as good as the material in this book).
If you’re interested, here is the first paragraph of my book:
The last time I saw my wife, she was sitting at the wedding table, laughing at something her sister was saying. Five minutes earlier, I was sitting next to her, sipping champagne and high on being married. I remember looking around the room, looking at her family and friends, when I saw him standing there at the back door of the reception hall. It had been over six years and he hadn’t changed a bit, probably even wearing the same dark suit he always wore. From this distance, he almost looked human. I dropped my head and stared into my lap. I was full of anger and regret. I clenched my right hand and then unclenched it. Clench. Unclench. For a brief moment, I was stupid enough to think I could escape. When I looked up, he was shaking his head slowly.
As for the Easter eggs in the picture above, you can see part of our library from the other room. On the left of the desk is an Alex Ross statue of Superman. If you look on the right side, you can get a small glimpse of an “authentic replica” of the Key to Hell from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.