Oldsters, The Writing Life

What’s on your ‘Project Notes’ list?

If you’re a regular reader, you know that the rule I break most often during the writing process is editing while I go. I’ve always been a rule breaker, accepted & moved on. With that said, I still have to maintain a list of things I’ll want to go back and either make sure I review or just ensure that I’ve covered my bases on my current work in progress.

Luckily, my writing software, yWriter, lets me do this quite easily.


Some are just line items on their own, such as “Eddie cannot drive – has expired license”. That ended up there after writing a great scene about him getting pulled over while the group is traveling down Route 66, and we learn that he never renewed his license after his wife’s death a few years ago – then a later scene had him driving again, so I added as a reminder to not let him drive again I  resolved the problem.

When I click into “Obstacles for Characters” I can read what I initially had set up as story conflict, and any updates/changes I made as the characters took me down different paths.

There’s links and research specifically for plotting out their trip down Route 66 from Illinois to New Mexico – this is just to make sure I keep the mileage and time traveled in line/realistic. It also helped me plan their itinerary, something they used – what town they’re stopping in each night etc…this is also where I started finding actual locations of motels and restaurants I used in the story. This type of research makes it so much easier when it comes to describing locations.

There’s “Scenes to Write”, “Scenes I’ve Deleted” – you get the idea.

Finally, there are “Editing Notes & Reminders”  – This is where I jot down things as I go that I’m unsure of at the moment, but don’t want to research now, or just things I read about in writing books that I need to fix later or be on the lookout as I write. Some of what I know now, I didn’t know at the beginning – so it’s all about learning and applying!

  • Make sure i used ‘that’ versus ‘which’ in the right way.
  • Spell out numbers or no?
  • Decades with or without apostrophes 1920s or 1920’s
  • SUV versus vehicle versus car when talking about Lila’s car
  • Make sure i don’t have too much dialogue and break up with description if needed.
  • Check flashbacks to get rid of “Had been’s”…Past perfect (Descriptions book, pg. 59-60)
  • Get rid of adverbs where I can, especially as dialogue modifiers
  • Get rid of “was”…IMPROVE VERBS
  • Get rid of “feeling” and “felt”
  • Too many “ing” words?
  • Get the tail light fixed in chandler (another reminder – this is why Eddie gets pulled over, and I wrote about him promising the officer they’d fix the tail light…so I was telling myself to jot a few story lines about taking the car into a garage to get that fixed)

A writer’s work is never done right? It’s about so much more than just telling a story – polishing the writing will set you apart from other writers in the eyes of a literary agent or publisher. So, what’s in your project notes?

write on…


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