Write On, Wednesday: Keeping Tabs

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By Leslie Lindsay

At last evening’s writer’s group, we talked a bit about the how’s and why’s of publishing and just a bit about the process of writing.  Those of you who write know there is a distinct difference.  I was hoping for a little on the process as well, for that is what I am in the midst of–at least for a novel I am taking a stab at.

Here’s what I probably would have added to the discussion: keep a binder.  Yep, a good ol’ 3-ring vinyl binder will do the trick for keeping tabs on your work-in-progress.  Here’s how it works:

  • Get a binder
  • Throw in some divider tabs
  • Label those tabs:  character studies/sketches/arc, rough outline, scenes that come to mind but you aren’t sure yet where they would best fit “scene ideas”, articles/ideas “found” for inspiration, exerpts of your favorite author passages that somehow relate to your work (read over them when you hit a wall), and any other tabs you feel would be necessary for your writing.
  • Keep referring to that binder throughout the writing process, add and delete things as you go or as your story evolves.
  • You may include magazine photos of the way you think your character looks, her home, her car, her kids–whatever you can draw on to create your best possible work.
  • If you think of something really grand while you are going about your real life, jot it down and shove it into the binder (you may like sheet protectors for ease of shoving).

Not only is a binder a great way of organizing all of the elements that make up a complex work like a novel, but it also sort-of-kind-of looks like a book (which, of course is your final goal, right?).  It looks like a book when it leans on the bookcase in your office, or propped up in that corner, doesn’t it?  Go ahead a label the binding with the working title and your name–now you’ve got no excuse.

And that is how you can keep tabs on your work-in-progress.  Write on!

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