Every time I write a book, I learn something useful for next time.
When I wrote the first one, I learnt to write timelines for my characters, the plot and the general days around the story. Otherwise I get confused as to what’s happening when, and if you’re writing a crime story that depends on timing, that can be a bit of a difficulty. I’ve even printed out a calendar for the year of my story.
When I wrote the second one, I learnt to keep a list of who my characters were, what they looked like, what part they played and their general personality. I learnt this after I realised I couldn’t remember what colour eyes anybody had, and after I realised I had changed the name of one my characters half way through.
For this book I’ve learnt not to write on little scraps of paper. Notes, research, scenes to add are all now stored in one book – with a waterproof cover. No bits of paper to lose, no frantically searching the rubbish bin for that one scene, and hopefully no soaking notes in the cup of water I’ve just knocked over.
Every time I write I learn one more practical detail to save me from disaster next time. I start off with saying ‘right, something went wrong, so this time I will avoid that by….’. It’s a bit of learning curve, but at least I am learning.