I wanted to share a little bit more about my writing…I say about and not of because I don’t have another piece of writing ready to post yet. I’ve been trying to go through and organize my seemingly endless amount of folders and word documents I have for writing on my computer. I’ve got a folder titled ‘Stories’ on my computer. Just one folder, shouldn’t be so hard to go through, right? When I click to show the properties of my folder, it tells me I have 107 sub-folders. That’s a lot of electronic folders to sort through. If you’re interested in any more numbers, like how many word documents are in those 107 folders, check out this post of mine.
This is why I keep saying it takes so long to get through anything on my computer and then decide what to post. Plus, on the side of NaNoWriMo, I’ve been trying to edit through my novel Black Ice so that I can start posting that in December, once I finish with Perspective. This post then, if I can actually shut up and get to it, is going to be about how I stay organized when I’m writing a story or novel. Sometimes it gets hard, especially if you’re writing Epic Fantasy or imagining up different aliens for a Science-Fiction novel.
Now, I’m well aware that everyone has different ways of going about this. Some writers like to write outlines and follow them religiously. Others that I know like to write summaries down of everything they’ve written in the story so that they can remember what’s going on. Maybe some authors even like to make graphs or something, I don’t know. I’d ask what all of your methods are, but I really don’t care. (That’s going to come back to me, isn’t it?) One of my favourite things to do is drawing maps. Whether I’m writing Science-Fiction or Fantasy, I love to draw maps. Not only is it fun (even though I have no artistic ability at all), it does help keep me organized. Even when you make up your own world, it can be hard to keep track of everything that’s going on and where it’s happening.
This is a map of a galaxy I created for a Science-Fiction novel, which I’m hoping to re-write with new inspiration. If you take a good look at this picture, and then the next one, you’ll see that the second picture is a close up of the arm in the bottom left corner.
Looking at them now, I realize I may have understated my artistic ability. Don’t feel jealous if your maps never look this good. Somehow, though, I have the feeling that most writers don’t make maps. It seems to be something only a nerd like me would do. Well, that was an example of an interstellar map of planets for, obviously, Science-Fiction. Here are two I drew up for a Fantasy novel (which I was originally going to write for NaNoWriMo this year). It’s the same deal. The second is a close-up of a section from the first.
Wow. Look at how authentic these look? Don’t you love how I scribbled in the water green? I’m not sure why I did that green, or why it looks like a two year old tried to colour it. Also, if you look at the first picture – I don’t know if you can read what they say – but the province labelled ‘Estoria’, near the bottom right, really looks like Gonzo from the Muppets. I never realized that until after I finished it. I think it adds some real character…
Speaking of characters, they can be the hardest aspects of a novel to keep organized. Especially if there are so many. I’ve drawn up family trees for my characters to keep stuff organized (it’s nice for Fantasy when you’re trying to show who’s next in line for the throne, or something similar). I have many other ways of keeping my characters organized, including lists, lists with descriptions, sorting them by affiliation, location, etc., and many more. I could go into more detail, but I really don’t have the time.
I mostly just wanted to share my maps and my love of creating them. It really helps me keep my locations organized and it also gets my creative juices flowing.
Well, I know I said I don’t care, but that was then and this is now. So, my question to all of you is how do you keep organized when you’re writing? Do you follow an outline? Or, like me, do you organize everything but the plot, and just kind of wing it when it comes to writing, using all the materials you’ve created as references?
If you do anything unique while writing, I’d love to hear it!
Thanks for reading!
- Why NaNoWriMo Is Like Christmas (allmeanssomething.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo Day 15 – Why Bother? (allmeanssomething.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo Day 16 (spontaneousderivation.com)
- NaNoWriMo: Writing is Magic (crimsonleague.com)