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Organizing Your Novel

Everyone has their own processes and systems to keep things organized and together as they write, but what if you’re just starting or are in need of a fresh start with your organizing? Keep reading and you’ll find some ideas I’ve dug up for you because, well, I’m in the same boat.

Let’s take a look at what I’ve found…

Electronic Organization

I’ve found that quite a few have used an electronic system for keeping their stories organized. Let’s dive in and look as what others are doing.

Trello

With Trello you have different boards, cards, lists and more, it’s no wonder many turn to Trello for their organizing needs.

You can create different boards for every aspect of your writing, from settings to characters to world building. You can even have a board for personal, homeschool, work, or whatever you need. It’s quite amazing how you can organize your thoughts, events, projects and more within Trello.

Trello

The best thing is that you can do this in any fashion you wish. If you want each book to be a board, you can. If you want each aspect to have its own board, you can. It’s really up to you how you organize and work the program to benefit you as a writer.

It’s also great for planning and keeping track of blog posts, social media, and any other project you have. As in the image above, you get a glimpse of my week at a glance.

Some Features:

  • Project Boards
  • Tasks Cards
  • Subtasks Checklists
  • Task Assignees—Give tasks a clear owner, so everyone knows who’s responsible.
  • Column Titles
  • Due Dates
  • Due Times
  • Add Attachments
  • Comments
  • Drag and Drop Workflow
  • Collaborate
  • Add Power-Ups 
  • iOS and Android Apps
  • Syncs Between Devices
  • And More

To see more features and pricing, click Here or Here.

Evernote

Here is one I haven’t used in years. I actually hated this program with a passion and I couldn’t tell you now why it was that way, but while researching this topic I found that a lot of people really enjoy using it.

You are able to create different binders with which you can add notes for each aspect of your story from characters, settings, checklists, etc.

Evernote Organization

I tried it, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to add a note without duplicating another. I would have to toy with it longer than a few moments to figure out how to use the newer features since the last time I toyed with it, but I can see how this could be a good program to use for your writing.

Using it as a binder, you can add sub-binders and notes to keep all your notes together. Like Trello, you can add images, clips from the web, sync between devices and more. Check it out to see if it would be something that could help you.

Some Features:

  • Save
  • Organize
  • Sync Text, Images, And Clips From The Web
  • Search Notes
  • Clip Material From The Web
  • Annotate Uploaded Documents and Images
  • Collaborate With Others
  • Chat With Teammates (Requires Business Account)
  • Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Web Apps 

To see more features and pricing, click Here.

Asana

Asana is similar to Trello in that it is a simpler version. You don’t have as much micro managing as with Trello or Evernote, but you can create different teams which have separate lists for each item, but it could be helpful for separating aspects into To-Do lists or even note lists. You can add attachments to each card and move them around as you please.

Asana

Use them as a checklist for each area of your writing and you are able to have teammates and assign tasks (Like with Trello or Evernote), you just need to decide which is perfect for you.

Some Features:

  • Projects
  • Tasks
  • Subtasks.
  • Task Assignees
  • Sections
  • Due Dates
  • Due Times
  • Start Dates
  • Attachments
  • Likes
  • Tasks in Multiple Projects

To see more features and pricing, click Here.

Scrivener

I use this program the most for my writing and to keep things organized. I love that there are pre-created sections for each thing, along with preloaded templates for your use. You can add your notes, images, etc to each section or note for use later.

Scrivener

To be honest, I never thought of this as a way to plan your novel until I began thinking hard about it. It has everything you need to keep your thoughts, images, notes, etc in one place. You can connect websites to refer back to without even leaving the program. The only it may not contain is a calendar for scheduling, but you can even create a folder for marketing, promotion, blog posts, social media, and anything else you want related to the project. It would be all in one place with your writing and it’s available to sync between devices, which is awesome!

More Features:

  • Binders
  • Subsections
  • Text Editor
  • Styles
  • Import
  • Corkboard
  • Outliner
  • Templates and Icons
  • Screenwriting
  • Tools for Non-Fiction
  • View Documents Side by Side
  • Full Screen Writing
  • Set Targets and Track Progress
  • Metadata
  • Collections
  • Choose Your Tools 
  • Print/Export/Publish
  • Snapshots
  • Autosave and backups
  • Write Anywhere

To see more features and pricing, click Here.

Paper Organization

You always have the option to go back to paper and pen/pencil, but what do you use to organize your ideas, thoughts, and other aspects of your writing? Let’s take a look below to find out.

Binders

Binders are helpful for organizing your thoughts. You would write everything out by hand and organize it in whichever way that suits you. Within the binder you could have tabs and folders to hold anything that reminds you of your story, separating different sections and areas of your writing to create the perfect system for you.

Binder

Each tab could correspond with an aspect of your story with notes on each one for you to refer to as you write. You could use the folders as a way to keep the physical things you collect pertaining to your story. Perhaps you’ve collected shells because your story takes place on a beach or buttons because your character collects them.

Notebooks/Folders

Organizing Folders

As with binders, you can have separate spirals for each aspect of your writing or you can use one for each novel/series. They make some handy tab stickers for your use to separate each section and if you were using folders, you could fill them with whatever you need for each area along with using a filing cabinet to keep them all organized.

Storyboard/Post-its/Marker Board

Post-it organizing

I’ve seen and heard of others who lay out their novels in a storyboard type way. They clear a spot on their wall and start adding post-its for each aspect. They’ll use different colors for characters, plots, subplots, etc. and I can see how this would work as a great visual. You could even take a picture of it to refer to when you are away from your desk.

If you’re the electronic type, I’ve seen some apps that will let you organize post-its in the same way, so you can use both ways if the desire suits you.

Hybrid

The hybrid version is to use a bit of both electronic and paper versions. Perhaps you like the organization of the binder to keep things together, but want a way to take notes on the go. You could use your notes app on your phone to keep notes or the post-it app for ideas that come to you while you’re away from your home and then put the into your system when you return.

You can search your device for the right app for you. Everyone works differently and as one will work well to one person, it may not work for another. Here is where you need to try different things to see what fits you and your style best.

Don’t Forget to Save Your Work

There are times when you need a reminder to save your work in multiple places. The nice thing about scrivener is that it save each draft as a new file. Unfortunately, unless you know where the one you’re searching for is or you rename them each time, there is still a chance you could lose it somewhere. So here are some ways to save your all important story ideas to keep from losing anything in the future.

  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • OneDrive
  • ICloud
  • USB Drive/Other External Memory Device
  • Print
  • Amazon S3

What other ways do you save your work? Inquiring minds want to know!

If you have another way of keeping your stories in line and together, let us know in the comments! 

April’s Writing Theme: Novel Organization

The reason for taking my break last month was due to some distressing feedback of my first novel and to be honest, my heart couldn’t take it. That doesn’t mean that I’ll be quitting, oh, far from it. I’ve been looking up more on writing than I did when I started and I realized that perhaps if I could get my notes and data for my novels organized, I wouldn’t forget that some events happened or that one of the men I have changed from Nix to Drant.

Yeah, it happens to us all. So here’s your chance to help others that are struggling with their writing and provide some much needed advice.

Book Organization

Example: For this one, I don’t have an exact system, but I am toying with Trello to get my books organized and I’ve thought about using an actual binder for my series. We shall see what works better. 

What are you using to keep your notes/thoughts/stories organized? I would love to know as I know others would as well!

Ways to Plot a Novel

There are plenty of ways to plot a novel and the way each author plots is completely up to them. Every author is different with different thoughts and ways of organizing them.

The way I plot could be, and probably is completely different from the way others plot their novels.

Plotting your novel is unique and special process each author must discover for themselves. This is where one process doesn’t fit all. When deciding how to plot your novel, there are many processes to choose from.

Plot Structures:

Character – Driven

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  • Your characters are the main reason the story moves along. Their motivation and drive to complete their mission, journey or quest is what keeps the story going until the very end.
  • Your characters through decisions, actions, and the journey itself, face their deepest fears and change as a result.

Snowflake Method

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  • This one is a bit more dynamic. You begin with a statement, just one statement
  • Then split that statement into two
  • Then into four statements and so on
    • It’s best to begin with a deep theme/premise
    • Then expand it to 2-3 sentences
    • Then expand that to 4-6 sentences and so on until you get a full plan of action for your book.

The Hero’s Journey

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  • The hero’s journey is a complex set of points along which the hero travels to complete his/her journey
    • They are (but not limited to) as follows
      • The Call to Action (They begin in their know world and receive call for adventure)
      • The Denial of the Quest (They ignore the request for some reason or another)
      • Acceptance After Debate (After inner turmoil and possible debate with mentor, they agree to journey)
      • Enemies and Allies, Who’s who (Journey leads them to many types of trouble as well as friends along the way)
      • Journey to the Beast
      • Facing Demons (hero defeats bad guy but not without consequences that change the character on a deeper level)
      • Reward/Success
      • The Return Journey (They strive to atone for past mistakes)
      • Conclusion
      • Life Continues/Next Journey (Return to live out days/Continue to the next journey of life)

 

The Fichtean Curve

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  • This type of story begins immediately with rising action
  • Framework for the story is scatter throughout the first half of the story with multiple crisis following.
  • Each crisis is followed swiftly by its own mini falling and rising action.
  • At last, the story reaches its climax conflict around two-thirds of the way.
  • Leaving the remaining pages for falling action, loose ends are tied up, and a new normality is established for characters.

In Media Res (thrillers, mysteries, horror)

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  • This type of novel begins in the middle of the story, usually at the 2nd-3rd crisis, though sometimes in-between the action
  • The plot still contains an upward trajectory with storyline sprinkled throughout (The beginning of the story is often told through flashbacks or in character conversations)
  • Several more crises occur to move the story along
  • The protagonist faces the climax
  • Followed by falling action
  • Resolution.

Combinations

You can combine any or all of the above to create your own plot structure that suits your needs. It’s really up to you, how your mind works, and what would be best for you as a person and author.

Snowflake with 3 Arc Structure

  • Snowflake with structure that points to important events while connecting those events to create an amazing story

Emphasis on Inner Plot

  • This contain a list of events containing a variation of the hero’s journey
  • Emphasis is held within the inner and outer plot, relating most outer story points to acts 1&3 leaving 2 as inner plot points

Major Midpoint Change

  • This is a form of the Hero’s Journey where there is a major change at the midpoint of the story. The character faces a shift in viewpoints or active goal.

Writing in Scenes

  • Plan your novel in Scenes, but be sure to include all the major plot points necessary to create a great story with emotion, action, adventure, and more.

Visual Mapping

  • Visual graphing/outlining of plot points, events, characters, emotion, and more. A picture of your character/story’s journey throughout the tale may be exactly what you need.

Things to Keep in Mind

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  • Does the beginning set up the end? Do all parts match up?
  • Think deeper, create a story that if the reader were involved it would feel real no matter the setting or events.
  • Write your ideas down, create an outline even if you don’t follow it completely. This will help you flesh out your plot points, events, crises and more.
  • Keep the reader in mind. Catch them on an emotional level – make them laugh, make them cry, make them feel hurt when a certain event happens. Make them FEEL.

Final Words…

The way you plot your novel is completely up to you as an author. One of these ways may work for you and then again none of them may work. You must travel your own journey to discover what works best for you. 

Me, I’m still on that journey. I’ve combined some of these to suit my creative mind, but there are still tweaks that need to be made. This is my plotting journey. What’s yours?

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Where Did the Time Go… Half the Year Gone!!

Half of the year has gone… Where did the time go? It’s definitely going faster than I would like…

We are now one half of the way through the year and I thought it would be a good time to review my goals and see where my progress is at. So let’s get right into it…

Books

Book Lineup

Publish 3 Novels by 12/31

  • I’ve finally gotten back into a rhythm of sorts. Book One is now revised and published for your reading pleasure. Free as well as the Prequel
  • Book 4 is is now also revised, edited and published.
  • Book 5 is being written, though slower than I would have liked, I am getting somewhere with it now.

~ It took so much time to get back into things after all the run around in the first quarter. I’ve since made some changes, gotten back into rhythm and I’m off writing daily again!

Read 12 Books in Genre by 12/31

  • So far I’ve read 6 books of 12 and I’m reading two right now, so I would say that I’m ahead on this one!

~ I’m having a bit of trouble reading these two as it is hard to stay with the story. I have faith I’ll get through it though and keep moving forward. One page at a time, right?

Read 6 Books NOT in Genre by 12/31

  • One down, one in progress and four to go! Yeah, I’m behind here. I need to pick up another book.

Organize a group of Beta readers for my books by 4/30

  • I have been in contact with two wonderful people willing to beta read for me as I return the favor. Would you like to be a part of my team? Gain free ARC of my books? And read some awesome fiction? Click Beta Readers if interested and lets go on an adventure!

Find an Editor I connect with by 6/30

  • Uh! I haven’t even thought about this for more than two seconds! Still one of my goals, but my writing comes first and since I’ve lost time on that all my thoughts are on catching up. Hopefully, my next report will be better on this front.
  • Update: Still no editor, but I’m looking. Go some advice or know of an editor that won’t break my wallet? Please comment below and help a girl out!

Organize a Critique Group who enjoys my genre and will give productive feedback by 3/31

  • I’ve lost some much time I haven’t even been on Scribofile in a while.
  • I have traded work with two great people who are willing to keep the relationship going.
  • I’ve also started a Wattpad account and have submitted a short story. Head on over to check it out and tell me what you think!
  • Otherwise, that’s as far as I’ve gotten on this. Comment below or click Critique Partner if you’d be interested in being a critique partner for Paranormal Romance/Fantasy books.

Create and Implement Street and Review Team for Books by 4/30

  • Oh my goodness! Does the chaos never cease? Hopefully, I can get my butt into gear since I took nearly a month off for family reasons. One more thing to add to my list of things to do and very soon. If interested please sign up below!
           

Communication

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Post 26 Blog Posts Every Other Week in 2018

  • Luckily, this is one area I’ve excelled at. I haven’t missed a post yet!
  • I’ve begun to expand my posts to be writing related one week and the next is an inspirational word. You can check out my blog HERE!
  • Have a topic you would like me to elaborate on? Comment below and I will add it to my list!

Be More Communicative on Social Media and Online: Comment on Posts and in forums, Post advice, comments, thoughts and questions on social Media.

  • I’ve started posting irregularly on my social media accounts, but I’m starting to get better at being on there regularly. More to come!

Business

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I’ll keep these as a list as they don’t nee much explanation:

Grow Business by 25% by 12/31

~ Going Up!

Create New Products and Useful Printables for Readers and Writers – 2 by 12/31

~ Still Working on! You’re going to love these!

Start Using Video in Marketing by 6/30

~ Lots of video training, hit a road block, but hopefully will be up soon!

Create/Participate in 2 Big Events for Readers: Haha, I have thoughts, but what’s the fun in ruining the surprise here! 😉

~ Research and development are underway!

Create 100 total items for store by 1/31 and continue with 5 more per month after January. Want to visit my store, click HERE!

~ No where even close to 100 products, so I’m doing what I can and I’ll keep moving to gain more.

~ I may try a new storefront to get things out faster and easier, more to come on that!

Try out New list of Marketing Ideas and record results.

~ Working on and progressing well! So many ideas to implement!! I’m sure you’ve seen a few if you follow any of my social media!!

Revamp Webpage and Pages by 3/30

~ New site is up and most pages are complete, just a few more pics and tweaks to go! I have pictures but the SD card isn’t compatible with my computer so hopefully I’ll have them up in a week or two!!

Extras/Other

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What better way to keep up with your skill than to lean more about it?

Complete 3 Educational Courses by 12/31

~ I’ve completed three in the first four months! Still learning, but working on words more now to catch up!

Schedule Time to Work on Drawing and Take Art Classes (Once a Week)

~ This was going well in the first quarter, the second not so much, but I hope to get back into it soon!

What About You?

What About

Are you reaching your 2018 goals? 

Are you completing and accomplishing the tasks you set out to do? Let me know in the comments below. Let’s keep each other accountable and encouraged!

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Planning for 2018

No affiliate links or bribes were accepted while planning or writing of this post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely those of the author from their experience.

This year has been a year of learning, change, forging on over mountains with determination and falling to valleys of procrastination. With the year a few months to a close, I have decided to begin planning 2018 sooner rather than later.

With my form of planning and always wanting the shiny new ‘thing’, I decided shortly into the year to go back to some programs and implement others that have worked well for me the last few months.

Planning Start

First of all, I’ve signed up to receive a lot of email newsletters that most I probably don’t need, but some stood out and one I took to heart, by Meera Kothand. In her Plan Intensive One Week Challenge, she goes through steps to organize your thoughts, plan out your goals and steps to reach those goals and scheduling them into your planner so you can keep track and move forward toward your business/personal goals. Though I worked through it in more than a week, I found it massively enlightening for my goals and where I wanted to see my business in 2018.

What I love about Meera is the fact that you can reply to any of her emails, ask her questions and she will get back to you. I’ve personally asked her questions while going through her Plan Intensive Challenge and she responded within manner of hours to a day or two later.  To find out more about her challenge click here.

With that being said though I have my books, emails, blogs, etc planned. Now I just needed somewhere to keep everything…

Software Implemented

Last year I mentioned a few apps. On called Pad 3, which I still use for notes, but after a while I realized I was just not the type of person to commit to writing everything out even on my Ipad all the time and for me there was never enough space in the calendars to keep things nice and orderly. The other was 17Hats. I liked this one well enough too, but I couldn’t quite get the hang of it and connect everyone to it that’s on my team.

Asana

Solution: I worked for a company that shall remain unnamed and we used a program called Asana for tasks and communication. As much as I hated the thought of using a program I had used while working for a place I didn’t enjoy. I found myself coming back to it. To my surprise, it has saved my life and my business. The layout is completely different from when I used it back then. It allows me to create different projects with different board within the projects for different tasks or just use a task list. I can also connect my team up to five members for free and haven’t had a need for the upgrade so that is always a plus.

I have even created projects for my personal, home and my kids homeschool to keep all my tasks all in one place and they are in separate projects so they don’t feel like any of them are overtaking or interfering with another. Though this program does have a calendar I do take the time to add my blog posts to my desktop calendar to keep them updated regularly.

Planner

I also keep a planner that I update daily as well as a journal I try my best to write in daily. The planner is handmade by me and the pages were printed until I needed toner and then decided to just draw out the pages so I wasn’t spending $90 plus for a toner cartridge when we plan to get a new printer anyway. As I mentioned before, I feel it is a waste of time to site and write out every tiny detail, but I’ve managed to make my pages simple enough to be copiable within a few moments.

Within my planner I have a section for Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly tasks, notes and whatever else I want in there. The one thing I love about my planner is that I created tabs for business items I wanted to keep with me. For my books I created a tab and within it I have notes on characters, settings, plots, and a short outline so I alway have it with me even if I decide to write instead of working on a computer. Another section keeps my blog plans as well as my email newsletter plans and another tab just for compiling from Scrivener so I remember how I want my books compiled when I go to publish them. This is the one thing I am really glad I created myself as it is updated daily and everything is in one place for me to view whenever necessary.

YNAB

Another app we invested in is YNAB, which I have spoken about before and seriously if you are looking to get your finances in order. This is the app you need. It has taken us almost three months to get the system down, but it is completely worth it. Right now my husband and I use it for our personal finances, but I have deeply considered using it for business since you can create more than one budget! It does have a price of $50 a year and they allow a free 34 day free trial.

I will be trying out this program next year for my business finances, so I will let you know how that goes as things progress.

How about you? Have you started planning for next year? How are your plans going if you are? Drop a comment, I would love to see what you use and how you plan your year!