1. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    How do you organize yourself?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by picklzzz, Jan 30, 2012.

    Hi All,

    Lately, I've been trying the Snowflake method of writing, which is a method I found online to try to organize my novel ideas. It has been great to let me know that the ideas I've had either need further development or don't remotely make sense once I get it all down on paper. They either need tweaking or to be abandoned. I like this method, but I'm wondering if any of you use another method or software?

    One idea I had recently got so complicated, I had a headache myself even trying to figure it out. I've put it aside for now because I need to step away and resolve some things about the plot and character development. If you have a particularly complicated plot with several subplots that all intertwine, how to you organize that and how do you determine the order to present the information / clues to the reader without making everything so obvious?

    I think it's a fine line with dropping clues between making your ending too obvious and making it so unmemorable that the reader forgot in the end. Is there any rule with this or any source you have that I could look into this?

    Thanks!
     
  2. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    I think the "craziest" thing I've done (that worked, anyway) was I made a HUGE poster and started writing my ideas and drawing them in bubbles. At one point I had over a hundred bubbles. And then I drew lines and connected some. I erased and combined some. Then I noticed that all my ideas were coming together so I made a rough timeline and figured out where all the holes were. I even found "slots" and plugged in subplots. ;)

    A good friend of mine says he does this, but with flashcards that he just rearranges on his wall.

    People are visual so "seeing" really helps.
     
  3. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I don't have any tools to organize my writing. I write it, and then after it's written I can read it. I write one chapter after another. My writing is very organized.
     
  4. Blueflare
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    Blueflare Member

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    I write pages and pages of entirely illegible notes by hand. Then some later time I decode it and write some of my actual story.
    I don't have time right now to make re-arrangeable cards but that does sound like a good idea. Maybe this weekend.
     
  5. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    I love the flashcard (or sticky note) idea! I have tried to write it just one chapter at a time, but I feel with complicated plots (why, oh why do I always think of those?), it may be better for clue-dropping and having a logical sequence of events to actually organize first. I think (although I haven't been successful at writing an entire novel yet) that it may make it easer in the long run. Then, I can analyze if it all makes sense and is worth writing before investing time. i write a scene and am in love with it and then realize later that something I wrote contradicted something earlier and then I have to redo one or both. I think not going through that makes the arduous process of organizing first worth it. I may use the posterboard or the flashcards. Or maybe even Excel or something.

    Any other ideas?
     
  6. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    I find that creating the cards/board/whatever really helps me get an idea of what to write also. I know I've done the job well when I can skim through the bubbles (or whatever you use) and actually picture the story in a movie-like fashion in my head. Obviously while I write the story gets changed a little bit, but because I agonized so much during the planning process, I don't get writer's block often (if ever) either. It's also easy to add and remove stuff as you go along, so it's flexible and it keeps you organized.
     
  7. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to use index cards, write outlines and make character notes.

    Now I sit and think about everything and how the elements fit together and I memorize as many details as I can. The mental exercise helps and makes the story seem more real in my head. Much easier to write from a vivid 'thought picture' in my head than constantly going back to my notes to see what I'm supposed to write next.
     
  8. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    One thing that works for me is dating every single document I write. Everything I save has a date attached to it. For example if I write a short story called 'Sheep Demon' I will save it as "Sheep Demon Jan 14,2012"

    This helps me a lot
     
  9. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I don't.
    I get up, have breakfast, then start typing.
    Then I pause, go out for fresh air, chat , then go back to typing.
    It is random really.
     
  10. Amphigory
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    Amphigory Member

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    I organise my writing like I organise my bedroom.

    ...I'm 17. I daresay you don't need much more explanation than that! :D

    (That being said, I do like good ol' pen and paper to scribble mindmaps and dot-points with).
     
  11. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    The notes I have on my series:

    [​IMG]

    It is a mixture of unholy mess and obsessive labelling. The paler the colour the more work I need to do, and the darkest shades are completed stuff I don't need to worry about any more. :p It's pretty old - books 5-7 should have a lot more darker colour on them than they do at the moment. :p

    I feel that writing a synopsis of the story and working off that is the best way to organise my mind. You can see the whole story on the page for a while, so you can evaluate its structure and whether it all works, and then as I work I just add more and more notes. I can do it out of order since they'll be in a different shade and therefore I won't lose track of where I need to do additions. I don't really work with any particular story template in mind, so something like this is the best way to keep track of what I'm doing.
     
  12. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    Personally, I think the snowflake method is at best an overly left-brain way of approaching a right-brain activity, and at worst totally OCD and a bit unnecessary. If you want to churn out books that all read exactly the same, ala Dan Brown, then go for it...

    That's just my opinion. If it works for you, and you like it -- then stick with it I suppose.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't use any 'method' at all... i just write...

    if i get to a point where i need to do a bit of organizing to keep from getting tangled up in timelines and subplots, then i'll lay out an informal sort of skeleton outline for the parts that need it... but i would never use any kind of formulaic 'system' or 'method'...
     
  14. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    You might be interested in having a read of my blog at this link:

    http://www.writingforums.org/entry.php?b=62806

    I've dealt with a lot of things about planning and organizing your ideas. I just came up with a few guidelines that work for me through trial and error. You probably won't agree with them completely, but you might find something useful in there.
     
  15. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cacian, that's my favorite post of yours right there. :D Beautifully put.
     
  16. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    Thanks, Ch878. I will look into it!
     

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