So, I’d been jotting down notes on the new steampunk novel for some time now: world notes, character notes, plot notes, etc. All in one long, jumbled document. The process was feeling rather grand. But there came a point when I begin to wonder among the growing complexities, how was this all fitting together? At this point, I had about 15,000 words, all notes, completely disorganized.
I decided that I needed a tangible way of dealing with organizing the mess. I remember reaching this point with the last novel. Then, I reacted by sticking post-it notes all over the closet door. This time though, I printed out all of my notes and cut them up, sorted them all out on the dining room table, adding notes as they occurred to me and taping the whole thing together in a long strip. It was something of a painstaking process, but gloriously rewarding. I’m starting to find that, when searching for the right story flow, there’s a lot to be said for a) working with your hands and b) working it out on a big surface (instead of that tiny computer screen we stare out for too many hours a day).
What I would like to have honestly is a wall-sized touch computer screen that I can grab little notes and slide them around, make connections, write new notes, etc. (Guess what, when I’m the next Kurt Vonnegut, that’s exactly what I’ll have.)