Almost anytime I have gone to an interview for a job or even back when I was in school I was asked repeatedly, where do you see yourself in the next five or ten years. Because I am a pantser, not just in writing but also in life I have never had an honest answer for that question. The truth is I could happily be almost anywhere in the world doing a variety of jobs and I would be very happy. The only thing I can say for sure is that I would still be writing.
A good friend of mine posted recently that she has over twenty books that she would like to and is planning to complete in the next five years. She was outlining all of them with at least major character and plot points for each story. At first her count of over twenty books made me think wow that's just crazy but then I started looking at all of the books I have waiting in the wings and realized the only difference is that she has a time frame in place for when she wants to complete hers.
I have now decided to also go through and make a list of my books and also create a file for each book. I have a checklist when I am working on a book that I keep in the file. On the checklist are things like character bios for all of the major characters as well as any secondary ones that feel like chatting. Also any pictures that I take to help remind me of characters or settings or even for cover ideas I may have as I progress. One of my favorite and most important parts is the playlist. Music is a vital part of my writing process so I will probably spend as much time making the playlists as I will the rest of the files.
Some of the stories are entirely made up in my head. They have to do with topics I am extremely familiar with and are set in either locations I know well or have been made up completely. For others though there is at least some amount of research involved. Sometimes I need to go and look up speech patterns or get some ideas of clothing for a particular era. In other cases I need to actually understand a real historical event and location right down to a period map or walking through the town I am planning to use as the setting for that book.
I have notes in my files as well for anything I may have forgotten about previously but will need as I go through writing that story. Once I have finished all of my files and get a better understanding of all of the books waiting to be written I will be doing my best to create a schedule and timeline to have at least the first drafts of each written. As I complete them I will be working on editing along with writing and get into the submitting level after I have a few edited to my satisfaction. I have a lot of work ahead of me but I am looking forward to it and thank her for her inspiration.