Monday, August 5, 2013


Writing is hard to organize.  

You have to keep track of settings, characters, chapters, scenes, plot, motivation… there’s so much that goes into one novel.  I’m not the most organized of people, but with writing, it becomes a necessity.  Otherwise, my stories would melt and lose its form.

When I began my first novel, I kept a binder with everything I needed.  I had a separate page protector for each character, setting and creature I created.  I kept lists to remind myself of what people looked like or the order of events.  I collected pictures of people to inspire different characters, along with maps of the settings.  I wrote out character biographies, adding it to their pages, and at one point my outline was 21 pages long.  It was a thick binder, but it did its job.  I kept on track with the outline and for the first time ever, I finished my novel.

Since then, I’ve tried organizing with word documents, ywriter and scrivener.  I’ve kept it on the computer and printed it out on paper.  I enjoy ywriter because you can pull up different windows, and I like scrivener because I can put things side by side.  I can also write notes or highlight.

So after so much prewriting, what works best for me?

I still like binders.  Maybe it’s the visual aspect, or the physical.  I can add pages wherever I want and I can flip between pages without needing to keep a list of windows at the bottom of my screen.  Otherwise, my computer starts looking like a popup book.  And believe me, that’s happened!  There have been the days when I have 8 or 9 word documents opened, along with a writing supplement program.

And of course, with binders, it is much easier to use COLORS!

Each of my WIP are in different colored binders, to keep them separated. 

Maybe that’s why.  I just like how pretty it looks.

I also edit/revise with colors.  I feel that when I do it pen to paper, it slows me down and I actually concentrate on the words.  I’ve also had drafts where I use different colored pens to highlight different areas of writing: passive/active, to be verbs, repetition, etc.

Of course, sometimes I do take it a bit overboard.

How do all of you organize?  What works best for you?