Monday, April 14, 2008

Answers for my peanut gallery

Nabbed from my livejournal... aeriedraconia asks:

How do you keep track of all your notes, timelines, world building and other data for you work in progress?
I'm writing a fantasy novel and I'm now at a point where I'm having to remember a lot of details, plus keep track of three different timelines in the story. How do you keep track?

I'm a skeletal writer at first... working off of an Excel spreadsheet, I start out with about 40 lines of what each scene is roughly about. I then take those over to word and expound out bullet points of details I know I have to get down for each scene and slowly the skeleton starts to fill in a bit. It's kind of like a reverse invisible man, slowly growing back to visibility until you have whole being.

Anytime I write something that seems pertinent to lasting details for the series as a whole, I flip over to my Dead To Me Bible (thanks, Alt+Tab!) and add it in... fun stuff like the fact that Connor is ten years older than Simon or that the Inspectre's mustache in somewhat walrus-like....

but it's the Excel document that really is the visual cue as to a timeline for how the story is progressing in the narrative. I add and delete from it as certain scenes become obsolete and new scenes arise. Usually I add date stamps to certain events in the story to get a quick visual as to how the story is flowing. A lot of people use Post-Its to jockey scenes around, sticking them to the wall and rearranging them, but I'm a computer nerd, so I go with Excel.

Now with all that said, I'd love to go back and drop about 20 pages from the front of Dead To Me. I guess those who can't do, teach!

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