Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Step One-Finished!

When working on a novel, I use a three ring binder with character, plot, setting, chapter, etc, tabs. This is my organized hard copy of everything on the computer. I find it easier to flip through the binder, make notes in pencil, when something occurs to me, then change it later on the computer/flash drive.

Step One, for me, is Creating Characters. Setting and place is hazily there somewhere in the back of my mind and doesn't become clear until the plot is being developed.

Just a few minutes ago I put the final touches on my cast of characters for my new WIP and put them in the binder. Then I took each character's picture that I "googled" on the net, labeled them with their names and ages, printed them, and taped them to the white erase board on my wall. In the past I only listed this information in a marker so it would be a quick reference while working.This time I have photos to view. (see the reference to Susan Fields' blog in this post)

To my utter delight, these pictures are my characters. I no longer see them as actors and actresses.

I don't know if I will do this every time I start a new novel, but it sure has made these first tentative steps into a new genre a lot less scary and intimidating.

Tomorrow,  Step Two:  The Plot
                                         

13 comments:

  1. Wow you are truly organized!

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  2. That sounds very organised! I usually keep stuff on the computer and in my notebooks, it's a bit messy :-S

    Although one good thing is when I have to search for something I'll rediscover some forgotten note I made, which brings on a whole new burst of imagination.

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  3. What an interesting method! I've never tried to the photograph approach, but now I'm tempted to try it. Thanks!

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  4. I find keeping a three-ring notebook works for me, too. I just find it easier to organize. I also love the idea of photos. Having a specific image makes the character 'real'. I've got to try that! Thanks, Catherine!

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  5. Karen, Charmaine, I'm organized almost to obsession. Even when teaching--well let's just say the custodian loved dusting my counters and desk! I have to know where everything is at all times when I'm working. (there could be a character in there some place)
    Anna and Andrea you've got to try the picture thing at least once. It was fun, especially looking for my antagonist. I found the perfect image of a woman in her forties, when I found a "radio personality" standing in a parking lot giving the camera an "evil eye". I actually gasped she was so perfect.
    Amanda, sure would like to hear that you've gotten started on your first novel.

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  6. Hello! I found your blog via Ann Best; she reccommended your latest post! You are truly organised, I admire that:) Maybe it comes from being a teacher?

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  7. Alexandra, I'm so glad you found me, thanks for commenting and becoming a follower. I don't think it came from being a teacher, but it sure was fine tuned in the classroom!

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  8. Sounds a lot like a technique I learned from an extremely helpful book I found a dozen years ago at the library: Writing Juvenile Fiction, by Phyllis A. Whitney. I still set up a notebook for each novel I start, but mostly just keep the time log up because the other material starts out in Morning Pages and then I transcribe anything worth keeping into a Word .doc: Characters, Plotting, background. Otherwise it's too many notebooks to keep track of.

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  9. I mentioned somewhere that I thought I got the binder idea originally from Phyllis Whitney. I had forgotten about her book! It really was excellent and the first "How to" book I read on writing. I've used the idea ever since.

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  10. Ooh! A new wip. Sounds like fun. Good luck.

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  11. I'm so glad getting pictures of your characters is working for you! It sounds like you're well on your way - good luck!

    I also use a three ring binder to keep all my character info, timelines, setting photos, etc. And I get a spiral notebook to do all my plotting. I love to work on the computer, but for some reason when I'm plotting, I need to put pencil to paper.

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  12. Susan, how coincidental, while you were writing this, I was working on my post for this week and mentioned how I'm outlining with pencil and legal pad to slow myself down! In the past I used the computer for most of it, but this time I wanted more "think" time in an easy chair with a glass of iced tea. Thanks for stopping by.

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