I’m no expert at this writing thing by any means, but I thought I’d pass this along to any of you who may not have thought about it…and/or who may benefit by something that has kept me fairly organized though the writing of my last two novels.
I’ve been using a 5 Subject Notebook, which I keep beside me at my desk while writing. In it I record…
- The characters: names, descriptions, and notes about anything they do that I might have to remember later, such as hair, eyes, personality, what kind of car they drive, their favorite food, boss’ name, etc.
- A running and very loose outline of the story as it progresses, putting the chapter number in the left margin and section (A, B, etc.) with a brief description of what is happening in that section.
- Next I have the whole story outlined by page, reminding myself what the major things are that are happening on that particular page in case I have to find it later. I record names and titles in red, dates/time/day in green, events and places in blue with the action in black. (Yes, it takes a little time to do this, but I’ve found it invaluable when I need to find something later.) Actually, while I’m noting the action, I simply leave lines for the names, dates and event and go back and fill that in when I finish the page.
- The next section is for notes I’d like to make about the story for later use or for editing purposes.
- The last section is for notating things to check on before sending the story for proofreading and editing.
These are my sections, yours might be different. I’ve found it to be so helpful in that everything is together in one place and you don’t have to look far for it. Maybe you will too.
I put tabs on the section dividers for easy access.
When I do my read-through after the story is complete, I place a smaller tab on the following clean sheet in each section and begin notating again.
Going through this procedure, what I’ve found is that I wind up with less mistakes being made in descriptions and on my timeline.
Next time, perhaps I’ll tell you how I do my timeline. The method I use for that has changed as I learn more about writing as well.
I sincerely hope this helps someone out there.