In yesterday’s post I briefly mentioned giving my short story its own project binder. I promised I’d blog about that today, so here it is.
With each project, I start a new binder. The binder undergoes many changes during the life cycle of a project.
In its infancy it is nothing more than a 3-ring binder (usually 1″ though sometimes I go 1 1/2″) full of loose paper. (I prefer college-ruled but I’ll take whatever’s on hand.) I use these loose pages to record any fleeting thought related to the project.
In the early days of Lodestar these pages were filled with snippets of conversations, questions my MC might ask as his world is turned on its ear, etc. Title ideas were scribbled in the margins, character names scrawled across four or five lines as I scrambled to get them written in the dark.
After a while, the pages get shuffled around and put into loose categories. History, mythology, characters, plotting, are just a few examples. Sometimes there arise more specific sections.
As Lodestar development progressed, I bought dividers and imposed more order on the binder. There’s a section for research notes as there was much to be done. I had to research the Air Force, NASA, astronomy, fencing, and archery. Wikipedia articles, other things I’d found online, all of it went in this section. There was a section for character bios and then all the mythology and history.
At a certain point the binder sometimes ceases to be useful. With Oracles Promise I ended up with a portable file box full of background stuff on the book and the trilogy. One hanging section was full of files on the 9 different kingdoms and empires that existed. Another for research files. (Names, internet research, possible crests and family symbols, etc.) Characters comprised a third hanging section. (I was up to about 14 characters that I had detailed bios on.)
Currently, there are 7 binders on my shelf. 6 are for novels and the seventh is for my four poetry collections I tinker with from time to time.
So, there you have it. That’s how I keep my projects organized and try to maintain some semblance of sanity in all the madness of world-building.