Summer Plans (You and Characters)

Summer is here and who doesn’t love sunny days, shorts and ice cream, right? Okay, I know there are some of you ‘crazy’ people out there that do love the cold and snow. I am definitely not one of them. I love being warm, not wearing heavy coats and ice cream on a hot day. Let’s talk about summer plans!

But let’s move on. It’s summer and I bet you have plans, whether it’s a vacation, continuing to work, or spending time with your family.

Summer

Summer is a time of freedom, especially for the younger ones. They look forward to the time away from school, vacations, doing (almost) nothing around the house and just plain having fun.

Beach Time

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

I know my children were ecstatic when they worked hard to get their school done early this year. (The benefits of homeschooling!) Though they still have chores, they are glad to have time to be themselves and so am I.

One thing I love to do is watch them as they create, play, or dream of what activities they want to experience next. The imagination and creativity they express is astounding when you allow it to flow. I’ve seen what happens when that is blocked from children and it’s a very sad thing to see. But we’re not here to talk about that, we’re here for Summer!

Our Summer Plans

One of our ‘traditions‘ and I say traditions because it’s something we do every year in the spring. We create a list of all the things we would like to do or experience this summer as a family. Anything anyone thinks of goes on the list no matter how big or small.

Camping

Image by Brahmsee from Pixabay

We then spend the summer trying to mark off all the things on that list.

This years list:

  • Visit The Domes
  • Go to the beach
  • Go Camping
  • Visit the Renaissance Faire (We go every year!)
  • Go to a Museum
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go to the Aquarium
  • Go on a picnic
  • Go to an ice cream shop
  • Have root beer floats
  • Play ‘Rainy Day Games’ (We each choose a board game and we play them all)
  • Bird Watching
  • Miniature Golfing
  • Disc golf
  • Bike Ride

We always have a few things that are a bit more expensive and some that may or may not cost anything at all. I’ll create a checklist that is visible to us all and hang it near our calendar. When we complete one of the activities, we check it off and at the end of the summer we look back to see all the things we’ve done as a family.

Writing

I can’t talk about the summer (or anything really) without talking about writing, and although I haven’t been my usual enthusiastic self – writing until my fingers fall off – this summer, I have not given up hope that I will return to that state sometime in the near future.

But to keep with the topic, have you ever thought of what some characters would do if they had a summer vacation? I don’t mean characters who are already on the big screens or whether the story took place in the summer, but if the character actually had a summer vacation from whatever they were doing at that moment, whether it’s a mission, job, career, or whatever. What would they do?

Teamwork

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

What do you think some of your favorite characters would be doing to relax, have fun or just hang for longer than say a weeks time? Yes, anything can happen and we hope it does in the stories we read, but what about outside the story. If the characters were real, what do you honestly think they would be doing with the time off they were given?

Let me know the character(s), book and what you think they would be doing if they had an entire summer to do whatever they thought was fun!

Featured Organizing

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!