Before I started writing I decided that this time, after my disastrously unorganized by-the-seat-of-my-pants NaNoWriMo 2011 novel, that I would get my thoughts in order and plot out a few things so I’d know what went where. I’m planning a series of three novels and the entire storyline was just stirring around in my head. Which is great because on one hand, when you simmer something for a long time the flavours become concentrated and the thinness boils away, but on the other hand, sometimes stuff slops over the edge of the pot and gets lost.
So I went shopping and bought about five colours each of cue cards and sticky notes and a little box to keep them stored in. Each book would have its own colour card and sticky, with another colour for character notes and a final one for uncategorized ideas. I labelled everything nicely and that box is currently sitting on top of my bookshelf collecting dust, without a single mark on any of the cards. The ones I tucked into my purse for ideas on the go are also blank, other than the ones that were turned into colouring sheets for the kids.
I had a bit more luck with my No Plot? No Problem! book until I got to the part where it started asking me to describe all the characters in detail. That makes no sense to me, because how do I know about them until I write about them? Back to the bookshelf it went too.
Now I’m considering writing out the pivotal scenes already in my head in detail, even though that will mean writing out of order. I tried it a bit with chapter
one two but I found it awkward to seam together the pre-written scene with everything else I wrote later that built up to that part. The feedback I got about that chapter said the same.
I don’t want to rely on my less-than-infallible memory to keep everything straight – things are already slipping away and I’ll find myself running through a scene in my head and forgetting some of the dialogue, or why that part was even happening in the first place. Maybe some point-form notes typed out and saved in a separate document? Or give the cue cards another try? I really like the idea of them, I just can’t seem to translate that into actually using them.