Friday, December 17, 2010

Fiction Friday: My Story Notebook

**Read all the way to the end to find out about a FREE writer's conference in January!**

Last Friday I talked about my Idea Doc, a document on my computer that I created to house all my ideas.

This Friday I am going to talk about my Story Notebook. I don't have a fancy name for this notebook. It's just a spiral notebook, usually a five subject with a vinyl cover so I can really beat it up and it won't fall apart. This thing gets drug all over the country so it needs to be durable.

Here's what I include in my story notebook:

Character Sketches-- I jot down ideas for what the characters look like, their backstory, their likes, dislikes, etc.

Things That Could Happen-- If I get an idea for something that might happen in the story, I put it in that notebook as soon as I can. I carry a notebook in my purse to jot down notes when I am out, then make sure to put that idea in my Story Notebook as soon as possible when I get home.

Ideas For Other Stories-- If I have an idea for a book I am thinking of writing in the future, I jot those down too. I just make a heading at the top of the page indicating what book idea it's for.

Editing Notes-- In this notebook I make my lists of what I need to do according to what my editor said in her macroedit letter. Sometimes her thoughts are more global, like "Strengthen the relationship between this character and this character." I make a list of ways I can do that, scenes I need to write, etc.

Story Structure-- This is where I flesh out the story in a rough outline: this happens, then this happens, then this happens. It's very rough but it helps me see the trajectory of the story.

Freewriting-- I might just jot down a rough scene that I want to flesh out later. But the image or the feelings for that scene are occurring now and I want to capture them before they are gone like the wind, which is common for me as I get older.

Notes I Take From Writing Books I Am Reading-- This is just quotes, questions to ask about my story structure, my character development, ideas I can use in my writing, etc.

As you can see, this idea notebook is not set in stone. There's no right or wrong way to do it. There's nothing that's off limits to go in there. It's just a repository for my thoughts, bound between two covers, held together by a thin, coiled wire. Oh, and dreams.

**In January there will be a free writers' conference offered at Lifeway's Ridgecrest Center. The only cost to you is your lodging and food. This is a good deal if you live within a reasonable drive from the mountains of North Carolina. Details can be found here:
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Amy O/picketfencemom said...

I'm a BIG believer in the notebook method too. And I especially love to write down quotes, a turn of phrase, or a passage from a book that I think uses wonderful description or language. I do more non-fiction writing, but I'd be lost without my notebook! :)
Great post!
Hope you and your family have a blessed MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Melanie said...

I have notebooks everywhere. I liked seeing how you organize yours. Thanks for sharing about this conference - I'm looking into it.
I'm waiting to see pictures of your little surprise....