The more stories I write, the more I realize that I need a clear direction from the moment I start my story. I'm not talking about plotting, just being organized with each story from start to finish.
What are some ways I do this?
The moment I start writing or plotting a new story, I open a new folder in Microsoft Word with the title of this story.
What goes in this folder?
|Photo by bigmick|
* Notes or plotted chapters (you could also add any research you've done or pictures of your hero or heroine)
* My Excel word count sheet (this is where I set a word count goal for each day and how many weeks it will take me to reach my goal for the story)
* Further down the road, I will also put my synopsis, proposal, or queries in here
Because I like to take notes on my story before I start typing, as well as when I'm away from the computer, I use a notebook. Every time I start a new story, I get a new notebook (or use a leftover one that's empty of all old pages) and keep this with me. Whenever I have ideas or notes or questions, I put them all in this notebook so I never lose any bit of information I've written outside of my computer.
A Pertinent Facts List
This is a big one for me. There are so many times I start writing a story and add in information I can't remember later. For example, I will say my heroine's eyes are green, and then later on forget I put that and change her eyes to blue. It also wastes time because I end up having to go back and try to find old information.
What else goes on this list?
* Any dates or character ages that will be important later in the story
* Character description
* Main character and secondary character names (first, last, nicknames, whatever)
* A timeline of sorts (there are times I forget which day of the week it is, or want to give my reader a sense of time - month, year, whatever - so I try to write down how much time has passed in each chapter or what day of the week it is)
My writing habits change during each story I write. Sometimes I plot more, sometimes I plot less, but the above categories are a must to keep me organized and productive.
What do you do to keep organized while writing?