Preparing for NaNoWriMo: Mapping My Tasks


Mapping my way to a rough draft
Mapping my way to a rough draft.


Between almost-finished and future books

Estimated arrival date for the proof copy of Book 1 of the Pierce Family Saga is September 2. In the meantime, I am getting a jumpstart on plotting Book 2, which has a working title of For Want of a Father. I plan to use NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to write the rough draft. I participated in NanoWriMo when writing the rough drafts of Possessing Sara and The Survivalist’s Daughter. While I didn’t reach the goal of 50,000 words in a month, I did go on to finish the books.

Overcoming Procrastination

I tend to procrastinate when it comes to any project not in front of my nose, so I taped a poster board to my office door and started putting up stick-on notes for areas in need of development. For years, I have avoided using the mapping/clustering method of prewriting because deciding where to put a circle on a board and what text to put in the circle makes me freeze. My current method allows me to change my mind about topics and their placements. I have chosen poster board from a dollar store and pads of various stick-on notes I have accumulated from conferences and fairs as the medium for my project map. If I don’t like the position of a topic, I can move it. If I change my mind about the topic, I can throw the note away and my basic poster in still usable.

The board so far

The year is 1859, four years after the end of Book 1. I originally thought the year would be 1858, but I decided Lucy should be a year older, so the first change I made was the year. The two main characters are Lucy, 13, and half-sister Cordelia, 17. Above each girl is a stick-on note about her father. Lucy’s father, Hiram Pierce, 48, is a blacksmith and city council member in the small town of Hidden Springs, Kansas Territory. Readers of the first book probably have strong opinions about Hiram. Cordelia’s father, Justin Quinn, 43, is something of a mystery. She has never met him, but knows he was a fur trapper when she was conceived. The first order of business is research. The blue notes down the side contain the various items I need to know more about. They range from the major events of 1859, including the Colorado gold rush, to everyday items like food, clothing, transportation, and occupations.

Justin Quinn: The backstory

I have chosen Justin Quinn as the first character to develop. I know least about him, and Cordelia’s story will hinge on the kind of man her father has become. He is probably not trapping since that trade diminished in the early 1840s at about the same time he met Cordelia’s mother. To get a better sense of mountain men and the life Justin might have led, I am reading Give Your Heart to the Hawks by Winfred Blevins. I’ll let you know what I learn from the book and reveal Justin’s backstory in future posts.

The mail just came!

The proof copies of Book 1 have arrived. Time to get to work.



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