Posted in Writing

Why Writers Need a Three Color Notebook

My most trusted notebook has three different colored pages, and it is my most valuable writing tool. Pink, purple, and blue each represent something very specific and it keeps my writing crisp and fresh. It is my most valuable guide, character developer, plot generator and the one thing I used to write all three of my novels.

The Blue Pages: Characters

In the very front of my book is a list of character traits I like reading. They are all positive and I try to incorporate at lease one into each of my character, even the villain. This is followed by a breakdown of my favorite characters good and bad traits. I underline the ones that come up the most. Then I have the same thing for real life people. The best part about this is every person gets to make their own list and write for those styles.

That’s followed by all of my characters on their own page. I have their name, book, what their goals are and what their personality is. Then I have what they want most, what they are trying to accomplish and one thing they would never say, never do, and never think. This allows me to reference my characters easily and develop their worst fears while I’m writing. I can force them to do the opposite of their goal, say something completely out of character, and display human emotion. I can also reference all my characters and make sure I’m not writing the same person twice.

The Pink Pages: Plots

I want all of my plots to be very original. Whenever I draft an idea I always write it’s tag line in the book followed by a synopsis and notes. This lets me keep everything jotted down for later so I won’t forget that story idea or reuse it. This is particularly important for me because I need to keep everything in order. It is also my bank when I’m working on a new idea. I mix and mash old thoughts together until I create the perfect plot.

The Purple Pages: Forget-me-nots

When I try to jump into a piece after a long time or I’m switching into it from another project it’s easy to forget the subtleties of each project. So I have a page dedicated to things I need to put in later, whether that is symbols, subplot, recurring images, scenes to put in or edits to make in the future, it all go’s on one page. During edits, I reference this to make sure nothing is forgotten.

I hope this can help you keep organized in some way! Have a great day.

Posted in Writing

The Authors Reference Sheet to Fast Draft a Novel

This is how I have outlined and organized the content for my most recent novel, Own Most. It is making the process of writing go much faster and easier than it ever has before. By this I mean 20,000 words in 8 days of work, which is much faster than I ever have before. I hope this helps you too.

1 General Plot

This is where I outline the overarching ideas of the book such as plot twists, high action points, and other need to know information

2 Useful Links

This is where I paste the websites that I used for research as well as location inspiration. In general, things I want to get back to later.

3 Character Inspiration

These are pictures that I have pasted right into the document. They show the some of the way I want the character to come across on the page as well as their physicality so I won’t have to hunt through the entire book to find someone’s eye color.

4 Original Draft

This is any scene I had written out ahead of time no matter where it fell in the book. I might have transcribed it from the written word or I might have twenty pages I typed out when I first got really excited about my idea. This is a good way for me to grab text I might be able to reuse without me having to stop and dig through documents to find it.

5 Big Ideas

I’ll have a short list of things I want to convey over the course of the book written out so that I never lose sight of what is important.

6 Plot Points

And here we have the dreaded plot points. I will set out each huge turning point first. I’ll usually have 10- 12 because that’s the number of chapters I usually have. Each of these high points represents the chapter break where I’ll leave the reader wanting more. Then I fill in bullet points of what needs to come between them to create a cohesive story. The key with this is detail. The more individual points I have, the faster I’ll be able to write.

7 Dull Moment Fixers

These are some ideas that I know I want in the book but don’t know where to put them. If I have any symbolism, themes, or foreshadowing I need to reiterate, I’ll put them here. The idea is, if I don’t know what to put on the page next, I can turn to one of these things and keep my momentum up.

This is just what I have been using. I hope you found something here that will help you write your first draft faster!