Organizing Your Story Components

18 Oct

I Want To Be A Writer Series

Let’s do a quick review to assure you have all of the components of your story.

  • The Great Idea – Write this down and display it as you would a sonogram picture of your unborn child because you are about to give life to that idea. This will motivate you when times get tough and when distractions abound. This is the reason why you are writing. Nothing else. If you think of anything else you will lose your inspiration. Giving life to your idea is the ultimate goal at this point.
  • Genre and Target Audience – Knowing your boundaries now will help you stay on track throughout the whole writing process. You will have a clear understanding of how long your book needs to be, what content is acceptable, and a general idea of the language you will use. Now mind you, when I say language I do not mean vernacular, I am referring to the specific manner in which your character will speak.
  • The Elements of a Story –  You should now have a clear understanding of and a collection of notes and visuals targeted around the characters, the plot (the conflict), the setting (environment and time), and the resolution (what is the ultimate goal you are writing this story towards).
  • The Narrative Mode – What train are you going to use to drive this story home?  This is all about what type of person you are going to personify as the storyteller and you must remain in character all along the journey.  You do this be having a clear understanding of what Narrative View, Voice, and Timing you are writing in.

Now it’s time to organize everything so that all of these notes are readily available for you.  As I stated before, there is nothing more aggravating than having to break your writing momentum to look for one detail that you know you have written down already.

This is something that you must determine what method will best suit you.  Personally, I have found the best method is to keep as much of this info as I can on my computer.  It is where I write and is not dependant upon the room or location I am at.  I don’t have to lug around a huge notebook and binder, everything is a simple click away.  On top of that, you don’t have to waste money on ink, paper, pens, pencils or anything else.  I saw a picture only a few weeks ago that an author posted on Facebook showing his method.  He kept a row of pictures of people that represented his characters on the side of his desktop screen along with pictures of the setting of his story. So as he wrote, his characters and setting were right there and all he had to do was move his eyes to the side. On the other hand, I have seen pictures where authors have taken sticky notes and covered entire walls in their offices with them.  It is all about what works best for you.

Either way you choose, there is one thing you should seriously consider doing. I create a file on my computer for each of my books and then create subfiles for images, content, notes, and anything else I have that pertains to my book. Then I keep it saved on two flash drives. You never know what can happen and if this is something that you want to become your life’s work then you don’t want to risk losing everything because you didn’t think ahead.

However you organize your notes make sure it is something that makes your life easier.  Writing can be stressful at times and the more stress you can avoid now the better off you will be.  These notes are meant to be aids not burdens.  The way you organize them can be the main factor of how effective they will be for you.

Now with any type of organizing you do, it is also important to remove the things that are unnecessary and can potentially be a distraction.  I love having the luxury to write my books and have all of the info I need on my computer, but if I am not careful, my computer can be my worst distraction.  Most of us have our computers set up to alert us when we receive messages.  You have to start thinking of your computer as your office.  An office has walls and a door to block out noises and other distractions while you are working.  You must do the same with your computer.  When you are writing, turn off the alerts so that curiosity doesn’t stop your flow.

You might find it useful to create a schedule.  Some people don’t like schedules because they want the freedom  to write whenever the inspiration hits.  Frankly, I’m one of those people.  But it all depends on what type of person you are.  The most important thing for you to do is to learn to discipline your time.  This is your job and the quality of your work will depend out how seriously you take it.

Previous Post of the Series – “Narrative Takes Control”

Next Post of the Series – “How To Publish Your Book Flow Chart”

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Posted by on October 18, 2012 in IWTBAW Series


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