By: Charlotte Rains Dixon
If you’re anything like me, the beginning of writing a book is a messy affair. You’ve taken notes like crazy, and they might be anywhere and everywhere. You’ve got nuggets about character buried deep inside a Moleskine, and the best ideas ever for a plot–if only you could find them. I’m all for this chaos at the start, but there comes a time when one must get organized or risk not going any farther. You need a way to corral all your supporting information.
So how do you corral your notes into a usable outline, or list, or something you can follow while writing a book? Amazingly enough, I have ideas for you. But first, let me be clear here, I am not a paragon of organization, far from it. I’ve just learned the hard way I need to get my notes together one way or another, or I’ll never write the novel. (Also, there’s that productivity thing I wrote about a couple posts back–a person who feels in control is much more motivated to accomplish things.)
Before I share some of the methods for organizing I’ve discovered, first, a note–it does help if you take all your notes in one place. (No, duh.) I’ve got a giant legal pad I’ve been scribbling ideas in and I number the pages and often remember to annotate on the margins to make it easier to go back and find things. You might choose a Moleskine, or a humble spiral. I’ve used them all, depending on my mood. Okay, ways to organize thyself:
- Mini binders. I love these little guys. Okay, I’ve gone off the deep end for them. I use them for corralling everything from novel notes to ideas for workshops to my day to day life. Often an index card seems too small, or a regular binder, too big–too much information on one page, ack! But as Goldilocks said, the mini binder size is just right. Also, I can make sections–sections, people!–for plot, setting, character, brilliant ideas, etc.
- Index cards. You, however, might like something smaller, and in that case you might want to try index cards, which do come in two sizes. Beloved of screenwriters, these babies make it easy to put one scene per cards, or one character trait per card, or whatever you would like. There are tons of nifty little containers to put them in, and you can take them out and play with them. You can move scenes around, pin them up in different configurations, whatever your little heart desires.
- Scrivener. I am not a Scrivener devotee, though I respect those of you who are. I do, however, love the idea that you can use index cards on the computer through this program. And there’s lots of other cool stuff as well. I just don’t have the patience to learn it.
To read the rest of the post, click here:
If you missed my latest writing and marketing tweets, here they are again:
- Corralling Your Writing Ideas | Charlotte Rains Dixon http://ow.ly/y46E301I79i
- Tending Garden: Writing and Editing Advice for Debut Novelists http://ow.ly/PM7T301I7ml
- How to Develop Your Best Novel Writing Ideas | Writing Forward http://ow.ly/1hun301I80h
- Why Superheroes Are Bigger Than Their Stories | Literary Hub http://ow.ly/wmzD301I865
- Great Dialogue Makes the Best Stories | Writers In The Storm http://ow.ly/MVcA301I8eW
- I got rhythm: how to write foot-tapping copy • Articulate http://ow.ly/k7Il301I8oQ
- Make People Care: How To Write About Your Life Without Boring Your Readers | Life Done Write http://ow.ly/6ZMH301I8D3
- Defeating the Contrivance Bogeyman – Mythcreants http://ow.ly/eGeU301I8Zf
- How to Create a Successful Protagonist | WritersDigest.com http://ow.ly/vWjQ301I93g
- Are You Letting Hedging Sabotage Your Writing? | Live Write Thrive http://ow.ly/PR10301I977
- How to Use Possessives to Show Ownership http://ow.ly/jh4z301I9wO
- Brexit: Twilight of the Experts? - The Book Designer http://ow.ly/2QKs301I9EX
- How to Blog for Authors and Writers: Questions and Answers http://ow.ly/cW3E301I9PL
- Book Marketing Tips from Industry Experts - Social Media Just for Writers http://ow.ly/DNvc301Ia0P