I have charts, scenes, research, articles…everything I need to remember to incorporate into a book is spread out around me. My office at work is just as bad, but that’s not really anything we want to get into right now.
Can you relate? Do you have burning desire to prove YOU can out-clutter ME? Have I made you scream in terror and run from the computer?
Now that you have an idea of how my chaotic form of “out-y” organization flies, how about “in-y/out-y” insight from the Seekerville experts? Some Seekers are definitely in-ys, some complete out-ys, and some, a nice integration of each.
Margaret Mitchell has nothing on our Revell author, Julie Lessman who is determined to show Boston society “After all…tomorrow is another day!” :
Missy Tippens uses her southern charm with flair as she pens romances for Love Inspired:
I also keep several things on the computer:
--A Notebook View Word file (used to use One Note until I got my Mac). I have tabs for research, for hero, for heroine, for secondary characters, for premise, for blurb/one-liner, for brainstorming/ideas.
--Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake program (I use this to write my synopsis)
--The book file, of course :)
--The Scrivener program file (I'm still learning to use this). For now, I use the cork board feature to plan and keep track of all my scenes. This is also how I organize my scenes into chapters. I plan three scenes at a time (one chapter).
Love Inspired author Cheryl Wyatt weaves consistent character threads as beloved characters pararescue jump into each other’s novels:
Maybe it's because I have a tendency toward being OCD, but I compartmentalize things by task. I have my research books on one bookshelf and have them organized by topic. I have another shelf for topical writing resource books such as The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, GMC by Deb Dixon, Story by Robert McKee and other character and plotting help books, etc. Also on that shelf are writing help books such as the Chicago Manual of Style, more dictionaries than one human should own, a thesaurus or two and Strunk and White's style book, etc.
I have a desktop in one computer desk that is near my research book shelves and I use that computer almost solely for author Internet dealings such as answering reader letters, online research, social marketing, etc. There are a couple of file cabinets there that hold my writing papers and things I get from conferences as well as letters that readers have hand written. I keep every one.
I type on my laptop which I keep nearby Bible and devotional journal because it helps me to remember to put His words before mine.
I am trying to go paperless and digital in my office so I have more files set up in my computer now than I do in hard copy. I use Gmail's Labels feature for my filing system and have an online backup. I'm also plan to start buying digital versions of writing books that come out so I can begin moving from paper books to e-copies. I can't concentrate with a bunch of clutter around me so this compartmentalizing helps my focus and productivity.
Seekerville’s own 2011 Rita finalist for Doctor in Petticoats (Barbour), Mary Connealy says simply:
My system is pure chaos. I'm sorry.
This happens too much for a grown up.
Living out her dream in Price of Victory (Avalon) available June 2011, Sandra Leesmith writes:
My biggest help is to outline the story by chapters so that I can be sure I have all the elements needed for each scene. Each of my chapters usually contains three scenes so I just basically outline those. Most of the time I put them on 3 by 5 cards so I can rearrange them, write notes, etc.
I usually do an extensive character chart for each of the main characters. I like to interview them. I include their strengths, flaws, wants, needs, goals, etc. I also include their physical description. This helps me keep each character "in character"
Love Inspired author Glynna Kaye (At Home In His Heart, available August 2011) offers her take on the situation:
I also have a 3-ring, slant-D binder (usually 1 1/2" to 2" wide) where I put hard copies of my proposal, story notes, calendars, etc., so I can take that along with me. I get tired of always being at a computer so on occasion take my binder along for a change of scenery when I need to think through story issues. I put clear, top-loading sheets in the binder where I can drop handwritten notes because I'm one of those writers inclined to grab ANYTHING to write on and don't want to lose those snippets of inspiration.
Each day after my writing session, I save the manuscript to a flash stick I carry with me so I know I have the latest & greatest secured! During the writing of my second book, I had major computer problems and couldn't get to my manuscript for weeks and weeks. So now I have a back-up Netbook and the trusty flash stick just in case!
Ruth Logan Herne, who has been accused of being bossy on occasion, writes:
But first I research. Study. Think about the area, the people, the problems, the geography, the quirks, the setting, and oh, did I mention people? I'm a visual learner but I have a great memory about story details, not about cooking dinner. Too mundane. So eventually all those tidbits of notes on the page make sense in my head. And then the only question is how to go from A = beginning to B = end. And that's governed by the circumstances and the characters personalities. Their personalities dictate so much of the story because they have to stay true to form. They wouldn't do it any other way, right????
I refuse to use the word archtype because I don't know what that means. They're the way they are usually because I'm MAKING FUN OF SOMEONE. And that governs their action/reaction sequence. Very scientific.
Seekerville’s newest published author Pam Hillman--her Tyndale House debut novel, Stealing Jake available NOW as an original ebook--writes:
I use spreadsheets of course. Then I started using yWriter5 because YOU [Audra] (wasn't it you? [yep]) recommended it. yWriter5 did all the things I did with my simple spreadsheets, but so much more. I still haven't learned all the ins and outs of the program and NOW I learn that you're using a NEW, better program. lol But I plan to stick with yWriter5 for now, just to see how it goes.
The secret to organization of any kind is to DO IT NOW.
File the email now.
Make that call now.
Follow on the results of the call NOW.
Send yourself an email about the idea you just had.
File it in your folder as soon as it comes in your inbox.
Do not say, "I'll do that later." Do it now, file everything in the proper place, and go to the next item on your list.
There you have it, the “in-ys” and “out-ys” of keeping your writing organized.
What about you? Do you spread your life all over the room, floor, house? Is all your writing and research slotted away in the mega-drive of your computer? Are you a combo of both? Share with us and maybe we’ll all discover new ways to keep the creative juices mingling, LOL!
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