My Writing Tip for the Day

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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…

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The next section is for notes I’d like to make about the story for later use or for editing purposes.
  5. 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.

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2 thoughts on “My Writing Tip for the Day

  1. I am envious of this. My own approach is totally anarchic with regard to characters: ready, set and go. Things like mixing up the eye colour do not happen to me because my mind envisions my staff very clearly; but I am not always prepared for how they will develop. Sometimes characters enter as mere names and then acquire prominent roles because, once they are there, I cannot get rid of them any more, like Charis’ old teacher. Either that, or I grow too fond of them to dismiss them, like it happened with Adrianus’ irritating foster-sister.

    I do, however, keep a day-to-day timeline while writing to make sure that the characters are at the right place at the right date, see the same lunar phase and face the same thunderstorm even when they are in different locations. A second timeline records notable historical and archaeological events that may guide and inspire the plot, like: the provincial governor’s wife was attested pregnant during the course of our story; this fort was renovated and extended three years before our book commences, that’s why it should look pretty new and clean to our protagonist; my night-sky simulation software informs us that there was a lunar eclipse at Passah of that year and the Antikythera Mechanism should predict it (or should it not?), etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand, Codex. My characters develop along the way as well in many cases but when they do, I jot down what I’ve said about them so that I don’t have a brown-eye’d girl wind up having blue eyes later on, as I did in There Abideth Hope and now have to correct it. LOL

      When I do my time-line, I jot major things down, as you’ve pointed out above, but I’ll save my comment on that for my next blog. hee hee hee

      Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings and adding your own thoughts to them. I appreciate it.

      Like

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