When I have a project–any project–I create a binder. Yep, it’s totally and completely nerdy but it works. So, when I sat out to write my all-American novel, I created a binder. (Not that one really “sets out” to write a novel. Some may, sure. But for us writer types, it may just “come” to us, as it did me).
I didn’t plan this at all. I just started writing one day and kept going and going, and thinking and thinking. Soon, I had collected so many tidbits and ideas on the circumstances I wanted to understand on a deeper level and a novel was born.
So, what’s a nerd to do? Why purchase a 3-ring binder, some sheet protectors, and get to cataloging–that’s what!
My 1″ binder is divided with sections of my novel –character study, character arc, setting, scenes, dialogue I’d like to include, actual real-life experiences/memories that may go along with the book. It’s pretty simple. But it’s there and not just rolling around in my brain.
I also clip any articles from magazines, newspapers, or the Internet that may help with some aspect of my novel. It could be an article on spring weddings in the south or something more writer-driven like, “how to create better POV if you are writing about an ailen abduction.” Sure…anything goes as long as it directly relates to what I am writing about.
If I have some great epiphany while I am out and about–I see something, or hear something and think, “Ah, yes! I could use some of that in my book!” I write it down on a scrap of paper and pop it in the binder when I get home.
Finally, I photocopy pages of my favorite novels, hole-punch ’em, highlight a passage or bit of dialogue, and refer to it as I am writing. Sometimes, another author’s art helps inspire my own.
But that’s not to say I am just in “collecting” mode all the time. Oh, no. I am writing, too. When I feel stuck, I just whip out the binder and refresh my memory.
So you see, a binder makes sure your book is bound to be read!