It’s been a few up and down days as of late. The weather has sucked, tempers have been flaring, and one thing after another just seems to be going south. My mood has been going up and down right along with the roller coaster, and not in a very positive way.
Which also means I haven’t gotten down to any writing or things on my to do list because my mind and heart just hasn’t been in it.
(I know, no excuse. Always write. But this lack of sleep and stress is not helping the focus, or creativity for that matter. I could have fallen asleep at 2pm today if that’s any indicator how I’ve been sleeping, coming from a night owl.)
While I haven’t been doing any writing the past few days, my mind has been stuck on one other thing:
My binder of notes. My book bible. My concordance. Whatever you wish to call it.
I’ve realized I’ve fallen a bit behind on keeping up with notes for this novel. (Okay, a lot behind.) Now this binder that’s all organized out and labeled and everything has sections with dividers for each type of thing I need to keep track of in this novel.
Examples: Blurb and Chapter Summaries, Characters, Settings, Timelines, Spells and Rituals (because it is a fantasy novel with magic), Maps and Sketches, Research, Miscellaneous Important Tidbits, etc. etc.
I have plain lined paper in the front of the binder for easy access when I need to jot down a new character, a new setting, or a new summary. Then everything is labeled out precisely. Pages are titled with what they are, everything is detailed.
Like “Chapter 1 Summary”. Then it even has a subtitle for the name of the chapter, then another note to the side for what page the chapter starts on in Word. (I am telling you that one is a life saver.) Or characters are labeled by their name, then a subtitle of MC, minor character, recurring character, forwarding character (meaning the only purpose of them is to further the story and they never show again), etc. etc. For the characters that don’t show too often I am adding another subtitle of which chapters they show up in. Then I go into listing their age, description, personalities, favorite things, dislikes, fears, everything. I am going all out on this thing.
Which is all good and done…if I had it all done, that is.
I’m working on it. Really, I am, don’t laugh.
But then when I find I didn’t jot down something important yet, or was on too much of a roll to stop and write out a character page because I didn’t want to lose my train of thought or flow and then…
And then I find this happening:
You see, I started Chapter 14 last week. To remind myself where I was heading, I read through the chapter summary I had written up ages ago now, before my computer crashed for two months, and I came across this note…
[PERSON TO BE THE FIRST GIRL’S SISTER! SAME EYES!]
Well, that wasn’t a major problem yet as I remember who the first girl was and what role she played in the story. So I easily flipped back through the summaries until I found what chapter she was in and then realized this was one of those “on a roll, can’t stop to jot” moments as I came across a bright pink sticky note — that was supposed to stand out to remind me to do it and apparently failed that purpose — that read this…
[WRITE CHARACTER SHEET. GIRL IS IMPORTANT! REMEMBER HER!]
And that is when I realized I had never written her character sheet down. Which meant I had to go sifting through 20 some pages of my novel — which, actually, had me quite pleasantly surprised in a good way at what I had been writing looking back on it — to remember what she looked like for the reference of the same eyes and all.
Needless to say, I did begin to write down her character sheet after that moment, and it is now in the binder. It still needs some addition, like her later role, but that will come as I more accurately get to that scene to know her full role. (My characters love to throw me curveballs.)
Writing is all good of course, but maybe I need to start keeping up with these notes. Like, say, maybe finishing a chapter, jotting down the beginning of the ideas for where I’m going next so I don’t forget, and then stopping to work out any notes from the chapter. Then maybe I won’t find so many [CHECK FOR ACCURACY] notes throughout my Word doc. Like the one after saying the girl’s eyes were a startling blue color that I got confused on from the previous chapter what color I had envisioned them to be when really they were a pale blue-grey.
But hey, I was half right to remember the blue to it! That’s a start!