Saturday, November 28, 2009

Constructing A Story Notebook

I've been very busy these past few days and about to get busier. But this is a good thing.

I've been enjoying the holiday and will be saddened to have to see that all come to an end in a few days. On the other hand, we get to turn around and do it all again in just a few weeks.

I've spent the last day-and-a-half working on putting together a notebook for two short stories: Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dragon and Queendom of the Harpies.

If you've read this lately, you'll note that a couple of posts back I declared that Tiny Dragon was nearing completion, Elagrom's journey almost at it's conclusion. So why now start a notebook on this story?

Several reasons.

The first is this: even though I am 4300+ words into this beautiful saga of Elagrom the Shepherd, and I have stated that the end is in sight (which in my mind it is), I have absolutely no idea how much more I will have to write until that end is reached. I wish writing was that easy.

Secondly, I have amassed a great deal of information in researching this story: dragon lore, dragon anatomy, the properties of lodestone and other magnetic compounds (which has yet to come into play in the story). I need a place to keep all of that information. Sure, I keep a record of information and webpages in the StoryMill research section (great writing software, StoryMill. I thoroughly recommend it.) I have print-outs of all that stuff, though, and I like to physically put my hands on it and study it. I need to do something on my breaks at work.

Thirdly, and I've mentioned this on past posts as well. this story may spill over into a novel set in the same world and history at some point. I'd like to be able to have all of the notes and research available to me whenever I take up that gauntlet. And every day I'm coming more and more to the feeling that I will take it up.

So, I'm making a Tiny Dragon notebook. Sharing the same notebook, on the other side of the middle pocket divider is the section for Queendom of the Harpies.

Harpies is a new story concept and I haven't begun writing it yet. I have started compiling information, both handwritten notes and printed web research and I need to start gathering all of that material into one location and start really planning the story. The notebook will be my primary tool for that as well.

A story notebook can be one of the writer's most dependable tools, and the one they come to depend on most. It helps you keep ideas, characterizations and plotlines straight in addition to being a place to keep all of your research. Keeping information tightly organized is a habit that must be learned by all beginning writers. I am still learning how to do it and using notebooks helps me tremendously.

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