Posted in Editing

The Binder

In December 2019 I wrote an article entitled Writing Stability. In that article I mentioned keeping a writing binder for the writing project you’re working on. It really doesn’t matter if you write by the seat of your pants or plan your novel out in advance, a binder to keep all of your information straight can only serve to help you.

Possible Sections to Include in Your Binder

  • Characters— This section will include everything about each of your characters. Possible types of information include: physical features, likes/dislikes, occupation, their role in the story, fears, character arcs, just to name a few. You could even create subsections for each character if you like.
  • Settings— Included here can be maps, setting descriptions, list of places and their significance, etc.
  • Story— I have a section in my binder with this label. What I use it for are ideas for my novel. Sometimes I’ll do a free write or I’ll write a quick plot summary for an idea.
  • Style Sheet— Here I keep a style sheet to keep the technical details consistent. For example, are you going to write your numbers out or not, make a list of words that MUST be capitalized consistently throughout, names and dates of events (It’s easy to lose track of this information when you’re writing). This is just a small list. What you decide you need to go in this section is up to you. When you’re editing later, this section will be your friend.
  • Doodling— This would be where you jot down any revision ideas or play around with language (If you’re writing fantasy, making up words can be fun).

You can always add to the above list. It depends on what kind of story you’re writing. I write urban fantasy, so I have additional sections such as, realms, fantasy creatures, photos, and questions. I love my binder because it frees up room in my head (kind of like a memory extension for my brain, LOL). If you don’t want to use a binder, a journal works well too. I’ve used both.

Posted in Writing

A Blue Streak

You wake up on a Monday morning. The day is gray outdoors, much like the weekend had been, and the temperature is 42 degrees Fahrenheit. Already you have a dull ache in your head that starts traveling down your neck to your extremities. Coffee isn’t helping either. You sit in your favorite easy chair, drink a second cup of coffee, and watch the morning news. Thinking the day has to get better than this, you get up and go to the bay window and look out. Then you see it. It’s a silver lining in your current humdrum Monday.

In the distance this silver lining is coming in the form of a streak of blue sky across the horizon. Hope. Is it a foreshadowing of the rest of the day? Will the blue sky reach through the gray clouds, pull them back, and shine in all its glory?

Sometimes our writing goes like this as well. We can sit at our computer for days at a time punching out 400 to 500 words. Your goal was 1000 per day or more. Then the inspiration hits. Is this the inspiration you needed for your writing to take off again?

Whether that blue streak of sky gets bigger or not, and whether that writing inspiration grows or not. Use it anyway. Make it grow intrinsically and use it. Focus. You can do this. Relish those humdrum days because it gives you more opportunities to experience the great ones when they come.