Project Binders and Organization — March 22, 2013
World Building and Keeping It All Together — January 14, 2013

World Building and Keeping It All Together

I think early on in the history of this blog I talked about authors who mention having boxes and boxes of notes for one book they wrote. Just for one! (Or 7 in the case of J.K. Rowling.) And being amazed at how they could have so much. I never used to have so much as I do now on Woven and its universe’s other stories.

I’ve blogged about project binders and how I keep everything organized for my stories before. But I’m starting to realize that I may need to expand Woven‘s universe more. Which means I’ll have to expand the project binder. Again.

Currently, for all 21 (possibly 22) (possibly 23) (more like 25) stories set in the same universe, I have a 3″ 3-ring binder and a 1 1/2″ 3-ring binder holding all the plot notes, character sheets, story synopses and outlines, magic spells, histories, et al.

Expanding the universe even further will require more binders, more notebooks. (Which I have in abundance in boxes in the storage room.)

I used to be amazed to think of authors sorting through boxes and boxes of notes to write one book. Now I’m starting to see how it can grow to fill so much space.

If you have a question you’re dying to ask me, something you want me to address either here on my site or over at the Dojo, send it to info(at)stephanie-mcgee(dot)com

Comments and other fun stuff can be sent to stephanie(at)stephanie-mcgee(dot)com

More on project binders — September 21, 2010

More on project binders

According to Blogger’s new little stats feature, my post on organizing my ideas is the most popular of all my posts.  At least, it’s the most-viewed.  (Followed closely by the post on memorable character introductions.)

So I thought today I’d talk a little more about my project binders.

Aren’t they pretty?

The one on the far left is actually the binder where I keep my negatives and prints from my photography.  So ignore that one.  (And that grey thing on the end?  That’s the file box I mentioned in the first organization post linked at the top of this one.  It’s empty now because I sent all of my notes and such for Oracles Promise home for storage.)

Moving from there it’s Lodestar, my poetry collections, my Shattered Secrets trilogy that I’ve worked with from time to time over the last few years, an untitled MG fantasy that a dream I had inspired, my adventure novel that I’ve been world-building for, Clockworks and Cogs, and a vampire story that I’ll never develop or write.

Next to those are sketch books for my adventure novel and for Clockworks and Cogs.  (For maps, diagrams, etc.)  Then a bunch of spiral notebooks for various and sundry purposes, not all of which are writing related.

This is the front interior of my Lodestar project binder.  In the pocket on the left is some typed up mythology stuff that I did.  It was typed instead of handwritten because I was doing research on the internet as I wrote that particular bit of world-building.  It was just easier to type it all and move from window to window than writing it down.  (Which makes no sense, I realize, but I’m going with it.)

On the right is the outline I did, maybe halfway through the book.  The very initial outline I had was not much to go on and the story evolved so much as I wrote it that I did have to keep re-outlining it so I could stay on top of the changes and keep on track.

You can just start to see the dividers off on the right-hand side.  The sections are labelled with things such as “Characters,” or “Research notes.”  The one at the end, I believe, says “Miscellaneous.”  I’m nothing if not obvious.

This is the inside of my project binder for the poetry collections I’m working on.  Inside the pocket on the left is research notes, an obituary I needed to reference when writing one poem, etc.  The pocket in the divider on the right contains feedback specific to poems in the collection in that section.  There are four dividers, one for each collection.

Each divider is the same.  It contains feedback specific to the poems in the collection that follows.

So, I hope that helps a little.  (Assuming there was some sort of lingering question that caused the original organization post to be so popular.)

If there’s anything more you’d like to know, please just ask.  I’ll gladly answer in the comments or do another follow-up post to this one.

Organization of the Fledgling Idea — August 26, 2010

Organization of the Fledgling Idea

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.