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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Writing Organization Tips

I'm organizationally challenged. I've blogged about this before, but I have figured out a few things that help keep me on track when I'm writing. I used to rely solely on memory, and while this mostly worked, there always seemed to be this point in the story--usually about 2/3 of the way through--when I wasn't sure how many days had passed since the story started. Heck, sometimes I wasn't even sure what day it was anymore.

This necessitated coming to a dead halt whenever I finished whatever scene I was working on, printing what I had of the manuscript, and reading through. Then I would write in bright red marker through the entire thing what day and time it was at the start of each scene.

You see the catch, right? Whenever I needed to double check timing, it required flipping through the entire 300 pages looking for my writing. Not quick at all.

During Midnight Hour, though, I realized that not only did I need to keep track of what day it was, I needed to keep track of the lunar cycle as well. The story's timeline was heavily dependent on the moon. I knew early on that my usual print-300-pages method wasn't going to work here and I hit on the idea of printing out the calendar for this time frame (complete with lunar cycles) and recording what chapter/scene happened on which day.

This worked awesomely! And I finally had my quick method for checking on story time. I've done it for every book since then. There are a wealth of calendars available online and Mac--I heart Apple--has it all right on the system for me to print as needed so I no longer have to go searching the internet.

The other helpful trick is to find pictures, not just of my characters, but of their cars, their room decor, etc. I also have floor plans of their houses that I'll print out. This way, when I write the character turned left into the bedroom in chapter one, she'll still be turning left in chapter twenty. Some real estate agencies have great websites with all kinds of house stuff. Also, for decorated room pictures.