In the Trenches: A Note on Noting

Notes for Unhomed Vol. 1

Letters home from the querying trenches by a weary writer, describing the travails of flogging a manuscript.

I have a habit of annotating my manuscripts. Thoroughly. Don’t believe me… Hold on a sec.

There they are. You are looking at the two 4″ binders filled with notes on Book 1. I put up a note around here about “Inventing Quicksand” a few days ago. Or did I only post that on my website? Anyway, the essay asked the question of –How much world building was too much world building? 

In the two binders above are pages on pages about almost every decision made in writing this novel. The list includes everything from :

  • Themes
  • Objects
  • History
  • Geography
  • Religion
  • Characters
  • Folklore
  • Word play & humour
  • The magic system
  • Recurring symbols
  • Foreshadowing
  • Dualities significant to the story
  • Why that specific word was used
  • A track of the Complex PTSD traits
  • Cultural notes on three specific nations
  • And much much more.

It’s exhausting. And yet, by no means exhaustive.

One of my small tasks while I am down here in the querying trenches is transcribing these notes. And organizing them. And then tagging them. Eventually they might go in a database.

It’s maddening. But still I slog on. Why? Well, every once in a while I run across a little gem in the notes and I enjoy the depth of the story.

I have tried to write a story that folks will devour, throw across the room, grudgingly retrieve it and read to the end with their heart located somewhere in their throat.  And then, in the wee hours, realize there was a second meaning to that scene. And to that one. And that one. I hope to entice the reader to go back and reread the novel with an appreciation for the current beneath the initial layer of the story. 

Until then, I have to get back to this beastie.

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