Organizing Tactics

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Hello everyone,

Just wanted to write a quick post about how my organization has improved, and how those of you who are architects versus gardeners might be able to improve your writing.

So, for those of you who are uncertain what I mean by architects versus gardeners, I mean that there is a spectrum for how much writers plan their stories. Architects like to plan every detail whereas Gardeners write from ideas in their head and let it grow organically. There is no correct way to write, but either way works better for some people. And, as is usual with false binary systems, people are usually a mix of both.

So, someone who plans and outlines less is more of a Gardener, and someone who tends to plan more and outline lots is more of an Architect.

Personally, I tend to be more of an Architect, and the better I become at organization, the more I lean towards planning everything out. I am more of a chaotic person, so organization is certainly not my strong suit, but I learned how to be more organized.

So, what kinds of methods have I picked up?

Some people work well with a digital outline or something similar. I’ve used a few different programs which help with that such as Trello and Scrivener. But I find that for someone like me, I tend to need to do something physically for it to make sense. So, what is my solution?

Coloured cue-cards.

It’s simple, just add different scenes onto your cue cards and arrange them in whatever order you think they should appear. Sometimes you can colour code them, too, for different themes and secondary storylines. If something weird happens when you’re actually writing, which does sometimes occur (those pesky characters developing minds of their own!) then you can move your cue card to a different location OR take it out of your deck. 

Usually, I still save research and ideas even if I don’t use them, because they could end up in a different project.

That means that as you write, you can move your ideas around just in case something changes. It works wonders for my projects, let me tell you.

Anyone have tips on how organization works? Comment below!

Weekend Girl

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Hello all! 

I’ve been outlining a new project! This one I already have a title for, which makes me so excited, because titles have always been the hardest part for me. This one is called Weekend Girl and features a nonbinary protagonist named Ashley who uses they/their pronouns, but who is also struggling with coming out. It is a romance, so there’s going to be some very funny misunderstandings happening in the future.

I have the outline complete, so I am aiming to start writing during the month of July, which is Camp NaNoWriMo month. I’m hoping to complete this novel as part of that challenge, as I usually write better under a deadline. 30 days should be long enough for 50K words, right? I’m also hoping to outline another story to write for November NaNoWriMo, but I’m not sure what yet. We shall see.

I’ve gotten a lot better at organizing since being in grad school, which is great for me. My thesis project was about 40K words long, and it went through 5 rounds of revisions. Wow, that was tough, but I finished it! But to organize all the research I did, I had to be very meticulous. I’ll talk about my new method of organization in my next post!

Anyway, if you have any questions about Weekend Girl, feel free to comment or chat with me on Twitter! (@aa_powell)