Alas, this is not about my going on a spa vacation, but is the term I just coined for the part of the writing process that is probably the most important (and most fun) for me. Basically, it's the time between sending in my last book and starting the new one. It's the time when "the world is my oyster," and I'm thinking about all the possibilities for the characters and plot for the next story.
During this time--in addition to catching up on all the home stuff that has been ignored, i.e. cleaning closets--I tend to read a lot, pick up a craft book or two that I've wanted to read, and review historical information to keep it fresh in my mind. This time around I read SAVE THE CAT. It's one of those craft books I've heard so many wonderful things about, but never picked up. Craft books tend to fall into two groups for me: those I love (small number) and those that psyche me out (the vast majority), so I'm often hesitant to read them--especially when writing. I LOVED STC. If you are a writer and haven't checked it out, I highly recommend it.
Unfortunately, with tight deadlines I don't have as much time as I'd like for rejuvenation, and I have to force myself to take at least a week to "do nothing" other than maybe make notes about different ideas I have.
I usually have about a month between the due date of my previous book and turning in the synopsis for the next. Sounds like a lot of time, but it really isn't. Revisions also have to be done in that period so if they are big (cross your fingers they aren't), this can get very tight. I need at least a solid week to do the synopsis, assuming I have the characters and big turning points already worked out. It's tempting to sit down at the computer and start working on the next story right away, but I don't give in. For me, thinking time (consciously and sub-consciously) is more important at this stage than getting something on the page. I need to give the ideas need time to macerate.
Contrary to my "type A" personality (LOL), I am not an outliner. Nor am I a "pantser." For those unfamiliar with the terms, outliners are writers who write from outlines and pantsers are writers who "write by the seat of the pants" (i.e. with nothing). I fall in between. I like to have a flight plan to know where I'm going, but don't want all the details filled in. Because I have to turn in a synopsis for my contract, that has pretty much become the flight plan. But basically, I like to have the characters nailed down and the big "turning points" worked out--although sometimes even those change.
Anyway, it works for me. But process is always changing, and I'm always thinking of ways to make it better (i.e. the magic bullet). I started using SCRIVENER for my last book and absolutely love it. It's a writer's program specifically for Macs (not available to PC users). After reading SAVE THE CAT, I went out and bought myself a bulletin board (actually cork strips that attach to the inside of a cabinet) to pin notecards to. As the late Mr. Snyder so brilliantly points out, it's a great way to waste time. :) (Although he also points out, wasting time is really thinking time). I keep telling myself that . . .
So that's my brief foray into this writer's process. I'll try to take some pictures of my office (and spanking new bulletin board strips) UPDATED: here they are. Ready for a peek inside my lair?
I've only put up one cork strip, but you get the idea
Mr. Cooper at work. As you can tell, the window seat cushion is still a work in progress (Mom, are you listening???)
The filing cabinets look so orderly, but inside is a different story. :) The roses are from my local RWA chapter. We get a rose for every sale.
My main working area (I use two monitors--the "portrait" monitor on the left is perfect for one page blown up to 150%).
On a different note, I ventured back into the movie theater this weekend to see LEAP YEAR. Loved it. Amy Adams, Ireland, Sexy Irishman, what's not to love?