1. ObsidianVale
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    ObsidianVale Member

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    How do i organize?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ObsidianVale, Feb 27, 2010.

    I am drowning! almost literally amoung piles and piles of papers and scribblings on note pads and scraps of whatever was handy.

    I now have a pile the size of a small country of papers with ideas and scribblings but they are not organize AT ALL! For a long while now i have been wanting to correct this and actually organize my scribblings so that i can finally begin to connect them into one amazing cohirent idea but the thing is every time i've tried i have failed miserably. I have no idea where to start.

    So does anyone have any advice? Have you had that problem? If so, how did you fix it?
     
  2. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    I'm completely hopeless at organizing and keeping up with papers. I just randomly plan things in notebooks, and assume that my brain will do its job and absorb the info. However, I find it much easier to stay organized on the computer. maybe you should try typing your important info into a word processor.
     
  3. Tigress
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    Tigress Member

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    Yup, the computer is the way to go. I have a folder for my book with all of my notes saved in different word docs. For example, I have docs for my list of names, my timeline, and stuff I need to add to the story when the right opportunity presents itself. It's helped me immensely!

    The only thing I don't have on my computer yet are my maps and floor plans. Those, I still have on random sheets of paper but am thinking I'll soon be purchasing a spiral notebook to store them in.
     
  4. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    I've got three different ways of organising the same information - mostly because one of them might catch fire:

    - Pen + Paper journal
    - Online Journal
    - Several wordpad documents backed up on the hard drive

    More specifically mind maps are - apparently - the easiest way to organise ideas, though personally I set everything out in indented point form.

    Best of luck
     
  5. thinking
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    thinking Member

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    whenever I find myself in a clutter, I take a few hours to sort through everything in the piles to consolidate everything. Any notes that are redundant, or notes that I no longer need, I toss.

    I take what's left, hole-punch it, put it in some general order, and put the consolidated notes in a three-ring binder. I try to put new notes in the binder right away so I don't lose them.

    Anything on the computer related to my writing has a folder. When I write I plan how many chapters the story will take, and I create a blank word document for each of them. As I write I fill the documents. I also crete spreadsheets for the scenes in any given project. All this helps me keep track of what's going on. When I want to write I know exactly were everything is.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I organize everything on my computer, with separate folders for different stories/novels. This allows me to keep drafts of one piece in one folder. My advice to you would be to type up your handwritten notes and organize them on your computer. And don't forget to back up your data on a flash drive or CD.
     
  7. rainy
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    rainy Senior Member

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    Like many others here, I have a computer folder for each endeavor. Inside the folder, I have the actual story plus several .txt files with various notes: a little description that popped into mind while traveling, dialogue that wrote itself in my head while showering, a character's emotion finally made clear while I was cleaning the house. I also keep .txt files with a synopsis or two; not necessarily ones I would ever submit in a query, but I find its helpful to write, or read, these when I'm losing inspiration. And then I have files with segments of the story that have been replaced, but I still want to keep around just in case.

    I also keep multiple backups: thumbdrive, desktop, external TB drive, and sometimes I even email myself a copy of an update if that's the easiest "backup" method I have at my disposal.

    Now I'd really love to end here and pretend I've got my entire house in labeled wicker baskets. That would be misleading. Sometimes my dialogue notes are in my synopsis text file, and sometimes that random description is on the back of an old plane ticket. I once wrote a few notes on a piece of paper at work that wound up *not* being scrap and, uhm, had to be replaced under the "lost" premise.

    No, definitely not all in wicker baskets.

    My point is (I think), that you will find a way to organize your ideas, but do so only until you are comfortably constructive. The end result should be a story, not a row of binders. Don't forget saving in multiple locations, though personally I found CD's to be irksome. All in all, try to keep the big ideas backed up in your head. Hopefully, they'll be easier to find :)
     
  8. MsMyth71
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    MsMyth71 Senior Member

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    Are they scenes? Ideas?

    Put scenes on index cards and store them away.

    Put characters on cards or in a journal.

    Computer can also help once you get things as you want them physically.

    Can you give examples of the array of different scribblings? For example, I have an "idea journal" that has character ideas, story ideas, scenes, phrases, etc.

    I transfer the scenes to index cards and bunch them for the same story/novel.

    Maybe once you figure out just how many different "types" of scribblings you have, you can arrange them according to type and then story/idea?
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you could first separate them into file folders, by genre [fantasy/romance/thriller], element [dialog/narrative/imagery], or purpose [fiction/poetry/lyrics/essays] and after they're sorted, turn all those bits of paper into computer files, so you can find them without getting paper cuts and ink smudges... you could do the typing in one swell foop, or as an hour per week chore... or whatever...
     
  10. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    I do not know if this is helpful, but this is how I organise myself....

    I always, always carry a note book around with me. A small one in my pocket. I write down every single creative thought I have, whether it relates to what I'm working on at the moment or not. Once it is written down it usually sticks in my head, as the process helps my memory. But I can always go back to it at a later stage.... ie after I have a 1st draft or 2nd draft I will go through all my notebooks (i predict about 15 notebooks per novel) and make sure I have not missed anything.
     
  11. Clockman89
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    Clockman89 New Member

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    Organizing thoughts?

    Greetings fellow writers,

    I've been writing stories for over three quarters of my life, but only really got serious about pursuing it as a career within the last couple of years.

    I'm comfortable with my characters, my conflict, my dialogue. My problem is, I'm amazingly disorganized with plotting.

    Does anyone have any tips/tricks/techniques for how you might organize the plotting of a story?
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do make a story outline but to be honest I tend to let my characters tell the story, I delete huge amounts I reckon about 200,000 words, full blown scenes and ideas haven't made it into my 40,000-50,000 word YA novel.

    I recently deleted more than half of my completed novel to change the way it is going so my second and third novels will work better.

    I only refer to the plot outline if I am stuck, I prefer my stories to grow organically. But done that way I have to be prepared to rewrite massive chunks.
     
  13. Nervous1st
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    Nervous1st Senior Member

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    Yep thats pretty much it. Without an outline I can't see how you're going to be able to plot out your story. It may even help to write out the timeline on a sheet of paper and plot it out that way.
     
  14. WorldEdit
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    WorldEdit New Member

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    Writing structure

    I know the structure is very important to writing, and I do think about it before I begin to write. But almost every time, I fail to organize my writing well, causing everything to be a disaster at the end. I do not know why or how this happens. Is it just that T have not thought of all the details and information to include at the beginning? Or is it just that there is something wrong with the way I complete a piece? I can always come up with some good support for my thesis though.

    I would appreciate some help thanks.:)
     
  15. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    This fiction or non fiction?

    For college essays I found giving each paragraph a mini conclusion helped keep my assignments tight, and allowed me to write to the word limit just adding a proper conclusion when I hit my word limit:)
     

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