I’m great at making lists, naming my characters and writing a working synopsis for each of my stories but keeping them all organized usually just involves a folder on my desktop. There’s even a running cut-file for the scenes and sometimes just a paragraph/sentence that I love but doesn’t fit. This is fine for a single story but I’m currently working on three separate series and two of them deal with different characters connected to the same story. A desktop folder will work but I want the information literally at my fingertips.
I learned the hard way one terrible winter when we kept losing power and all my information was on my desktop, that having a physical copy of my story bible and manuscript was a good idea. I love the idea of writing programs or digital folders full of info that help an author keep their story straight but I still use the three-ring notebook and plastic cover sheet method as a back-up.
I don’t know about you but one of my favorite places to be besides a bookstore is the office supply store. There’s something about the idea of organization that appeals to my sense of well-being when it comes to putting a story together.
My story bible grows over time but I start out with the basics, a working synopsis that will probably change at least twice before the first draft is complete, brief character sketches and a section devoted to setting. I will cut out magazine images, draw maps, make collages, you name it, I do it and it all goes into plastic cover sheets to be stored in the binder.
This might seem involved but having the information at my fingertips keeps me from having to search back through my manuscript to figure out what I named a minor character, or business establishment or even a street name mentioned in one book that that suddenly becomes important in another. What's that you say, why don't you just store it all on a lap top so you're protected against power failures? The fact is, I do own a lap top and I do store the original files there but there is something about the process of building a physical file that for me, inspires creativity.
What about you? Do you have a special process when you put your stories together?
Have a wonderful February!
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