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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Organizing New Ideas — IWSG (18)

So for the first post in the IWSG group we were asked to write an introduction of ourselves. Lucky for me, I already had one ready . . . my bio. Yes, I'm cheating and not writing a new one, but but but I'm tweaking it a bit. It already says what I want it to say and in turn I get to use that little extra time to use for brand new words for my work. Win-win, I say.


I'm a writer, a reader, and a make-stuff-upper. I live in New York with my husband and toddler twins. I'm a wine connoisseur (which just really means I know I love it) and a caffeine addict. When I'm not busy with my family, I find myself being transported into the world of imagination. Well, either that or running away from spiders . . . I'm convinced they are out to get me!

Speaking of writing new words . . . 

Brand new year. Brand new plans. Lots of new ideas are yet to come for all of us. Exciting new notes are to be taken. I like having several notebooks, pens, calendars, to-do lists, etc. The problem is as much as I enjoy writing down my ideas and plans, I'm not big on outlining or pre-planning. I'm a pantser and while it worked for me in the past I wouldn't say its been very effective for me lately, so here is where you come in. I'm always fascinated by how different each writer is and what they find important when working on their books.

What process do you use for organizing your notes? 

Do you make lists? I do, because I like to check them off as I go . . . it makes me feel productive. Do you keep a word count goal (weekly, monthly)? If you outline, what are the first steps you write down: premise, summary, or just key points? Sometimes I write all sorts of ideas/notes in one journal, BUT I use Post-its and a gazillion pens . . . color coding can make or break a story sometimes, ya know? Err . . . anyway . . . pick and choose what you wanna answer o_O lol

 What are the most important steps when preparing for your new projects? 
And go!

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hop.
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!  Posting is first Wednesday of every month. Click here for more info.


  1. So many questions!
    I start with an outline that is the key points and then continue to add to that. I usually run it by one of my critique partners and then adjust further. I did have to take a lot of notes for my last book and I kept those all in a file. It was a lot more paper than I usually deal with!

  2. In the beginning stages, I tend to jot a lot of things in a notebook. I'll add sticky notes and scraps of paper to the pages if my notebook is not nearby at the time an idea strikes. Then, I move to the computer and try to organize the notebook, try to come up with a loose outline of sorts before I start writing, revising the outline as I go. My process is pretty much a mess really but hey, it's my mess. :)

  3. I'm a pantser, too, so I barely make any notes, at least with a first draft. Editing is another story. I have pages and pages of ideas and notes on pretty much everything from plot changes to symbolism. With the first draft, I mostly just picture the scenes in my head and then write them down.

  4. Lists! What would I do without them? Well, I get to find that out a lot because my favorite trick is to make the list, then lose it. For some really super-important-can't-forget kind of things, I write them on my hand. I haven't lost that yet.

  5. Do I have a process? Hah. Sometimes the process is more work than the writing. Hehe. And I love lists...aren't they awesome?

  6. This made me smile. :)
    I don't really make a whole lot of notes, and most of them either get scribbled on scrap paper to be used better or typed out on a computer document. Lucky for me, they don't tend to get too lost. Well, a file on my computer or tablet is harder to lose than a piece of paper that I set somewhere.

  7. The only process I really have is a series of notebooks. I have a spark book for any new ideas I have (because I used to have them on index cards and post-its and napkins and sheets of paper), and then a notebook dedicated to each novel idea I have, so I can jot notes when I think of them.

  8. Nice to meet you. In my writing, I jot down notes of possible scenes. Sometimes they work; sometimes not. I am a list maker of what I hope to do each day. I seldom outline, mostly a punster. I use index cards for each chapter, with the characters, setting, and what happens in that chapter. It helps when I'm in the tenth revision and can't remember whether I've already said something or not. :) Happy writing.

  9. I love lists! And notebooks! You can never have enough of them, I say.

    I usually start out by writing the story as it has formed in my mind, just to get it out of my head and down on paper so I don't forget it. I'm quite good at that! Then I read through, asking myself questions about it, the characters, why things are happening, etc. Then I can start to build around it and the story grows from there.

    Good luck finding your own system xxx


  10. Great questions! I'm mostly a pantster. I tried really hard to have a mega-outline and it didn't work. I need - several what-if questions (with some answers), a few character notes, five to ten plot points/scene ideas, log-ish lines for each character and the story overall, and then maybe, a chicken-scratch map. After that, I'm ready. If it's a short story, I only need the what-if, a one sentence character idea, and a place/setting, and then I'm off.
    Thanks for asking this, S.K.! I'm involved in a slightly different project than normal and this little "think-through" helped me realize what was going oddly for me. I need to get back to what works for me.
    Happy 2015!!!

  11. Hi, Sk,

    Happy New Year....

    Sounds like you have many creative ways to CREATE.... What fun! For me I just WRITE... I start hammering away at the keys and the ideas kind of come as I go along. When I stop, to work out or run errands, etc, that is when the story scenes pop into my mind. I make mental notes, but as I get older, my memory is as sharp as it used to be. I NEED to write things down now. I have forgotten a few pivotal ideas in the past, so I guess for this new year I will be either jotting them down in the notes on my phone or, actually WRITING them down. I must make a mental not to ALWAYS carry something, whether device or pen and paper, with me at all times.

    Wising you and your family ALL THE BEST for this year!!!!!

  12. I read of some very good techniques for outlining in the book Save the Cat. Generally I disliked the book but I must accept there are some gold nuts there, as the outlining. :) Have a wonderful year, S.K! Dragon Hugs

  13. I'm a panster too!!! I take them on and pull them off. Jk!!! Here's to a beautiful New Years with new ambitions!!!

  14. I love to do lists! They help me be productive because I'm a big panster. 2015 is going to be about lots of to do lists for me and getting things done. =D

  15. Because I love writing by hand, I love anything to do with pens, colours, post-its...
    Hope your 2015 is amazing, highly productive and filled with lots of new words, Ms. Make-Stuff-Upper!

  16. ha, I love your bio! I am the biggest pantser. I kind of outlined this new novel, but it's the loosest outline ever. :\ so no lists, I just go in and pants the crap out of the thing till it starts to take shape. But I definitely do word count goal. When I'm drafting it's 1,000 words a day. If I don't hit that, I won't go to bed!

  17. You did a great job with your introduction, Katherine. I hope you're feeling much better now. Best wishes for the New Year.

  18. I have loads of lists! I create a new list with each revision, to be addressed at the next round. AND... I live by my calendar. If it's not on my calendar, then I might not get to it. For instance, IWSG is on my calendar the first Tuesday of every month.

    And be kind to spiders, they eat mosquitos, daddy long legs, and house centipedes. Now those creatures are definitely out to get me!!!

  19. I have a whole mess of notepad files on my computer full of lists and incomplete sentences and everything else I could ever want toward a novel. Some call it disorganized chaos; I call it the creative process.

    Also, it's good to be afraid of spiders. Those things are no joke. As I posted about before, my wife got bitten by a spider that's the same caliber as a brown recluse (it's called the aggressive hobo spider) and it did this to her leg. No, she's not fat, that's just how badly it swelled up. And yes, that photo was taken in the hospital. FEAR THE SPIDER.

  20. That's funny--I'm just like you in that I LOVE having pens and notebooks and making lists and doing all that organization-type stuff. (Are you a Virgo, by chance?! That's the excuse I always use, mostly jokingly, though.) I also am a panter...so it has never quite matched. With writing, I just have to start writing. Although if I get stuck, I'll often stop to write some quick notes about where this story is going next. It's weird that as much as we like organization, we don't write that way!