While you're waiting on the editor to do her magic on your book, you can map your manuscript.
Primarily, this time of Mapping Your Manuscript is not editing. This is the time when you map out the plot, make notes about the characters, track the timeline. You can even list the names of places the characters visit, roads they drive, family members they mention. You're creating what is often called your book bible.
By doing this, you find errors. Most small, but sometimes big ones. Jack goes to see his sister, Lucille, at her home in Toronto. Except, wait a minute. You check your notes and find this notation: Jack's sister, Lucille, died when she seven and was hit by a drunk driver. The governor is bald, but eight chapters later he has shaggy, brown hair. Note that, unless you've written a reveal where we find out his brown hair is a wig.
Look for inconsistencies, passages that need to be reworked, characters that appear or disappear without reason, towns that suddenly have new names. Even if you don't find a single error, you've still created a bible that will be helpful.
But the main focus of Mapping Your Manuscript is to note all those details that later you won't remember and will wish you had written down.
If book one is popular, you may decide to do a book two. Now you have notes to refer to, whether you're working on book two or book ten in the series. You won't have to pull the book off the shelf and start thumbing through it. You'll have your notes. Even better, if you wrote the notes on a document on your computer, you can do a search and find.
Mapping is much easier if you do it with each book. It's harder to do it when you're about to start book four.
Do any of you do this kind of mapping of your books?
Helen Ginger is the author of Angel Sometimes, as well as 3 books in TSTC Publishing’s TechCareers series. You can find two of her short stories in the just released anthology, The Corner Café. Her free ezine, Doing It Write, now in its thirteenth year of publication, goes out to subscribers around the globe. You can follow Helen on her blog, Straight From Hel, on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn. She is also Co-Partner and Webmistress for Legends In Our Own Minds® and the Coordinator of Story Circle Network’s Editorial Services.