Sunday, April 10, 2011

I is for...


Oh, those wonderful ideas that swarm through one's brain. But what to do with them? How do you corral them?

My trusty little composition book has been wonderful for the book I've been working on. I took it with me everywhere and jotted down anything that came to mind, whether it was a question, a character trait, a change or whatever other kind of idea popped into my head.

Now that the novel is written, I still use it to jot notes about editing and the future books in the trilogy.

Other than the composition book, which I just discovered this year, I've tried many variations on storing notes. I have a small accordion file full of color-coded index cards. They were color-coded depending on type of note: green-character, blue-disembodied scene, white-overall story idea, so on and so forth.

That one was a fail.

I also have random slips of paper in a file folder, all with notes, portions of stories, intros to stories that never got written, et cetera. My computer has a folder of story notes and ideas, as well.

What I'd like to do is get all of those together. Plus, I want to be able to write down notes on different projects at the same time. So I need to either put it into a binder with sections or one of those segmented notebooks. That takes time, though, so for now all of my notes will just have to be scattered. It's like a messy room, in that I know where to find what I need when I need it. No one else could, but I'm the one that matters in this instance.

I is also for...


I see interviews on different blogs with authors, and I also followed a local author, Beth Groundwater, who went on a blog tour to promote her book. Each day, she was interviewed on another blog, some about writing, some about white water rafting, and so on. I was in awe of all the work she put into it, as she would do the interview, it would be posted, and she would respond to comments in the blog for that day (and I think she even followed up after that). Wow!

Blogs seem to be a good way to promote your work, as you reach a different audience with each one. If there is anyone out there who has a book or writing project coming out and would like to be interviewed on this blog, I'd be glad to talk to you. As this blog is about writing and getting published, the interview would lean toward tips and tricks in that arena, but would also be about yourself and your project. Contact me through my profile if you're interested.

Who knows? Maybe someday you will interview me for your blog to help me promote my own novel!

Following up on the ideas premise, how do you corral your own ideas for stories? Do you have the perfect way of organizing everything or are you still a work in progress?

Happy Writing!


  1. Hi Shannon,
    I like your I-post. Writers have to keep up with ideas. I am almost never without paper. I keep a notebook and pen handy most of the time. I have been struck by a sudden idea and actually stopped in the grocery store to write an entire 600 word nespaper column on the back of my grocery list. If I don't write things down when they arrive in my head, the thoughts drift away to make room for the next big idea.

    Happy A to Z Monday.


  2. I'm not very organized, LOL. Most things I keep in my head while I'm writing. I have a gigantic stack of notebooks that have bits and pieces from so many stories, because I would often write by hand and then type up what I wrote, but I never had "this notebook is for this story." I'd just flip to the next empty page and write whatever scene was next for whatever story I was writing. (This sometimes makes it very difficult to find a handwritten scene if I don't type it up right away.)

    If there's stuff I want to make sure I remember for the future, I keep a file that has notes of every plot point that I need to make sure I hit or cover in the future of the story. I also have an "excerpts" file where I keep scenes I cut (in case I need them later) or scenes for the future (because sometimes I write ahead). If I'm writing fantasy, I'll also have maps.

    It might not be the most organized, but it's worked for me for many, many years. ;)

  3. I have notebooks, notebooks everywhere in which I scribble down every idea that pops into my head. I don't know if I have the perfect way of organizing everything (I'd guess not) but it seems to work for me.

  4. I have notebooks, but mostly I use my computer for storing my ideas. A lot of ideas come from my flash fiction, so it's already on the computer. The rest of my ideas, I just open my Notes document and type it up.

  5. Great post. (=
    I have tons of ideas and inspirations jotted down too! It keep s growing! I will never catch up!
    Check out the latest interview on my blog... and I would love to interview you someday. Just say the word.

  6. Shannon, I'm with you on the ideas. It is overwhelming. I have story notes in several computer files, in my spiral notebook, in my journal, and scribbled on scraps of paper on my desk and nightstand. Ughh! I like your idea about a binder, but that doesn't work unless everything gets printed out. Good luck on finding the "right" method/tool.

  7. I approach the ideas thing very similarly. I have a stack of notebooks and TRY to keep the ideas for different projects separate. When I only have a basic plot idea, it goes in a folder... it would be nice to be more organized on the matter, but I keep that stack where I do most of my writing (the bathroom--I write in the tub) so it works okay.

    As for the interviews--great to get involved in that circuit. I got hooked in through Authors Promoting Authors last spring and did about 6 months with a guest almost every week. It was a good way to just sort of let myself be known as someone who has guests. Now it has slowed (and I like it a little slower) but I still do one or two a month. It's a nice way to pay it forward.

  8. Lucy, wow at the grocery article! That is why I need to take paper with me even when shopping.

    Laura, I also keep what I've cut from something I'm working on, just in case. And I have my village's map up on a wall in my office, next to character sketches.

    M.J., that's what matters, that it works for you.

    Shelli, that's cool about the flash fiction. You just build your story up around it?

    Jo, I will stop by today and awesome!

    Dawn, so true. Good luck to you, as well!

    Hart, I love that you do most of your writing in the tub. It's good to hear there's someone else who keeps the different notebooks for different stories. Now if I could just keep it in those notebooks, that would be great. Thank you for the info on interviews.

  9. I have scraps of paper everywhere with notes. When I have an idea that is actually for a new project, I open a folder for it on the computer. I have lots of those, too.

    As for interviews, I'd love to exchange interviews with you. heh That comcept makes me laugh. I'll email you, and we can figure that out.

  10. Or, um, you email me; I don't see your email addy on your profile page. strangepegs AT hotmail

  11. Andrew, I've remedied that problem now. I haven't checked my profile since I got it up and running. Will email you.