1. Skyes
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    Skyes Member

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    How do you organize your ideas? I have a lot , but they are a mess in when I write down

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Skyes, Nov 22, 2014.

    Hey folks. I am writting a new book, and this is the 4th one that I write. The problem that I am facing now, is that I oftenly get a lot of inspiration from reading, watching TV or listening to music. I write them down in a different document, so I can browse it and use it on my book later. But the problem is that when I go back to my book, I can't organize these ideas. They all seem a lot out of context, or chronologically wrong. I feel like I have to "cut and glue" them in the story in order for them to work out.
    It looks like you have a lot of cool pictures in your hands, and now you must organize a puzzle in some kind of order.
    And I loose myself a lot in this proccess. Right now, I am trying a different approach. I just write out the ideas I have, just as they come to mind, without any kind of formatation. It all comes out very childish and etc, but at least Ican write it down. And then I will try to re-read and correct it all, writing formally.
    Does anyone have any other idea?
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You may want to do some work off the computer. I'm not normally a very visual person, but when I have too many ideas and am having troubling figuring out a good structure, I find it useful to get a big sheet of paper and a pencil and write things down that way. Bubbles, arrows, question marks, dotted lines... whatever I need.

    I've also heard of people having good luck with index cards (put different ideas on different cards, maybe colour-coded, and rearrange them as needed). It's never worked for me, but I know there are people who swear by that method.

    There is software that tries to replicate this experience (Scrivener, etc.) but for me, there's something about actually writing on paper that activates a different part of my brain.

    Good luck!
     
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  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    When I work on novels I sometimes, temporarily, name the chapters in order to figure out where things go. In my first novel, which dealt with serial murders, I knew where each murder took place due to the titles and I could put information about them in each folder. Back in the day I was using paper, folders, and a filing cabinet. All my notes got little abbreviations so that I could put them into the right folder.
     
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  4. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write a list of titles. Each title has a few words of explanation to remind me of an idea, (rather than define it fully). If a title represents a major part of the story, I may have subtitles to break that section down. I rearrange the order of the titles with cut-and-paste until they follow on, one from another. I write some text under each title, and think of some more titles to add. When the work is a few pages long, I create a contents table so I can see all the titles at once. This gives me an overview of my work and forms my plan (which develops as I go along). I then rearrange the order, write some more text, think of more titles to add and review the text I've already written. I make a few general notes too, each character's motivations, each subplot etc (all in the same document so I have all the information together). I use a separate document for text I chose to remove but think I might want to re-include during future edits. This allows me to be ruthless in what I take out.

    I think planning is important but it doesn't all have to be done at the beginning. Keep everything free, fluid and chaotic enough to encourage creativity.
     
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  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Another thing to consider might be whether every idea belongs in the same story, or if it belongs anywhere at all. Just cus it's a good idea doesn't mean it has to be in the story. I'd say find what your story is and what you're trying to tell, and then cherry-pick your reservoir of cool ideas and use only the ones that serve the story best :) save the others for a different story.

    I think what you're already doing sounds fine. When you say you write them down, I'm not sure if you meant you're starting to write out the scenes as you see them. If not, then I'd try that. Eg. the moment you get the idea, just start writing and see what scene or story comes of it, rather than writing down only the idea as a note. But perhaps you're already doing this :)
     
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  6. rosenjcb
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    rosenjcb New Member

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    Internally, I get an idea of what I want to write and then I write it out. Most of it won't flow correctly, I will make leaps in thought, and it'll end up being a stream of consciousness mess; however, as I rewrite and flesh out the idea itself, I quickly realize what I've wanted to write the entire time.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I use an old-fashioned spiral notebook. It allows me to outline, scribble some background, alternate ideas, all sorts of "what-if" scenarios. It also makes cross-referencing a lot easier. I can also mark up my notes with different colored pens or highlighters.

    When actually mapping out an idea, I'll start with a simple statement, maybe a character or two, and then jot some ideas of where it can go. I make a basic chapter outline with the express intention that it will change many, many times before I'm done. When I start on the computer, it's with the understanding that it's exploratory until I have a chapter outline that I know will be fairly stable. Once I have that, then I start really writing.
     

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